One of my most vivid memories of my grandma’s kitchen as a kid was creeping around for treats. If we were making chocolate chip cookies, I stealthily ate little pieces of butter when no one was looking. I would lick the batter from my fingers until I felt sick, even though the raw egg made my hands and mouth itchy. When she made chicken soup, I would sneak into the kitchen and eat handfuls of the cooked egg noodles that were waiting to be tossed into the soup. They were starchy, bland, plain and absolutely the best. I didn’t crave candy and ice cream, but put noodles, bread or rice in front of my and I was in heaven. I’ve pretty much been a carb tooth since I could chew. (I was also known to throw tantrums in the car if I could not have olives as a snack, but that’s neither here nor there.)
Though a loaf of bread is still my favorite dessert, I have come to enjoy the fresh veggies and rich broth of chicken soup and can survive without the noodles. I think the ritual is the best part. Putting on a pot of soup and filling my apartment with the smell is cleansing and brings be back to center. This weekend’s snow storm was an added bonus, making for a perfect Saturday.
Grandma’s Chicken Soup
makes 6-8 servings
1 whole chicken, with skin
1 sweet potato, peeled
1 turnip, peeled
1 parsnip, peeled
4 carrots, peeled
2-3 celery stalks with tops
2-3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
small bunch of fresh dill
small bunch of fresh parsley
sea salt and pepper to taste
A note before we being: This soup is very user friendly. The list and number of veggies above is just a suggestion, and the more you add the richer your soup will be. Feel free to add anything you have in the house.
Wash and peel all veggies and cut into large chunks. Add them to a large soup pot. Rinse chicken and add to the pot as well.
Add just enough cold water to cover all the ingredients. The less water, the richer your soup will be, but everything should be covered. Sprinkle in salt and pepper.
Bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat and skim off any brown foam off the top of the liquid.
Add herb bundle and return to a simmer. Cover and simmer on med-low for about 1.5 hours. Check in on it a few times, you may have to skim the top again. Also taste periodically, and add salt or pepper if necessary.
Once finished, separate out the chicken and veggies from the broth. Throw away the herb bundle. Then run liquid through a strainer to make it nice and clear.
Any unused broth can be frozen and used in other recipes. I also figured out (by accident) that you can use some leftover broth in place of water to make another soup. Cooking it again with a fresh batch of veggies and chicken makes the color and flavor even richer.
Happy New Year!