Simple Chicken Soup

Corner Baker Cafe Copycat Recipe

1 whole chicken (about 3-5 lbs.)
4 quarts cold water
3 large carrots
3 large celery stalks
3 large whole garlic cloves
1 large sweet onion
3 dried bay leaves
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon kosher salt, to taste
2 teaspoons black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped, fresh, Italian, flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 cups cooked barley, pastina, orzo, acini de pepe, alphabets, brown rice, wheat noodles, or other

Wash chicken well (inside and out, remove organs, you can use them in this soup of you want, just make sure you wash them, too). Remove and dispose of chicken fat that is naturally lodged inside the lower cavity of the chicken near the thighs. Fill large pot with water and put in chicken.

Add salt and pepper; wrap thyme and bay leaves in some knotted cheesecloth for easier removal later; add to pot. Wash carrots, chop off bottoms, cut one in half and the other two in thirds; wash celery, cut off bottoms, cut one in half and the other two in thirds, and don't forget to cut off and include the green celery-tops (unless you're using celery hearts); peel off onion skin, chop off ends, leave whole; peel garlic cloves, leave whole; put all prepared and whole veggies in water with chicken; cover pot with tight lid; bring to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring a few times to keep everything moving around, cooking evenly, not sticking to bottom of the pot, or catching from the heat.

Simmer slowly, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 1-½ to 2 hours, until the chicken turns white, is cooked through, and hasn't yet fallen apart. Remove bay leaves and thyme. Using two, large, slotted spoons, carefully remove all chicken pieces, put in a big bowl, away from the stove, for about 20 minutes (with slotted spoons, press hard to separate all joints and large pieces of meat, like the thighs and breast, to crack skeleton apart for quicker cooling and easier handling).

While the chicken is cooling, take out the halves of the cooked carrot and celery, cut up into smaller pieces, and return to the soup. Sprinkle in parsley. Stir. Get out your food processor, scoop out with large, slotted spoons all veggies BUT the carrot and celery you just cut (NOTE: some of the onion may have separated, so include those larger pieces if you can; also, search for the garlic, which might have dissolved, so don't worry about it if you can't find it), and add veggies to your food processor. Pulse everything first to get it going (10 seconds), then puree until veggies begin to liquefy and slip down the inside of the top of the food processor (20 seconds). Add all pureed veggies back into soup pot. Add cooked noodles, pasta, rice, or other, optional, complex carb. Stir well.

When chicken is cool and easier to handle, take a few large dark meat pieces and/or about ½ of a chicken breast, put in the food processor, and pulse (15 seconds). Add chopped chicken back to soup. Take apart rest of the chicken with your fingers, picking as much meat as you can off the bones and ripping it into small, bite-sized pieces. Add chicken back to soup. Reheat for a couple of minutes and stir well. Serves 12

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