A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Good Day For Soup

Today I made chicken noodle soup. It took the whole morning, cutting up the vegetables and cooking the chicken with celery, carrots and onions to make a rich broth. I felt like a cold was starting yesterday, so this was on my mind. The cold never came...but I thought I would make some soup anyway and put some in the freezer, so when we did get sick...there would be some there (if we don't eat it first.)
Hot chicken soup evokes fond memories in most people... whether it is for the well-known canned variety with noodles or Grandma's homemade chicken soup that she spent hours simmering on the stove. Chicken soup was always "good for what ails you." It was often the first thing that was put on the stove when anyone began to sniffle.

Amazingly, studies done on chicken soup have proven that it has merit as a health food. Chicken soup is an anti-inflammatory, so serving a nice bowl full when you have a cold or the flu can make you feel better. By adding ingredients like garlic, you can actually boost your germ-fighting power. Studies also showed that it didn't matter much if you made homemade chicken soup or got your soup out of a can... they were both pretty effective.

No matter how simple or complex of a soup you plan to make, the base is the same. You need a good chicken stock to get you started. Stock is made by boiling the chicken carcass for several hours. A mirepoix of onions, carrots, and celery is usually included in the making of the stock. This classic French combination of flavors adds depth to the broth. Mirepoix can be added to the stock either raw or after being roasted or sautéed in butter. You want to add the mirepoix to the bones that will be making the broth in a ratio of 1 part mirepoix to 10 parts of bones. Herbs like sage, parsley, rosemary, or tarragon can also be added to the broth.
After a long simmering period (at least 4 hours), you can strain the stock. The resulting broth can be saved and frozen for future use, or you can add some chicken, vegetables. Chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food in many different cultures. Besides the traditional American chicken soup with vegetables and noodles, there are many variations. In Jewish culture, chicken broth is the traditional choice for matzo ball soup. In Asia, chicken stock made from the feet and other cast off portions is used as a base for many classic soups like wonton, egg flower and other beautiful soups.
Here is my recipe for chicken noodle soup:

3 whole chicken breasts with bones

celery cut up

carrots cut up

1 onion cut up

Water to cover...add whole peppercorns and some garlic salt. Cook till chicken is tender.

Meanwhile...cut up 4 or 5 carrots, 4 ribs of celery, 1 onion, into bite sized pieces. When chicken is done take the breasts out of the kettle and cool then cut into bite sized pieces. Add 1 box of chicken broth to the water, take the vegetables that cooked with the chicken out, add some soup base...1 Tbs. Add the veggies to the broth and cook till just about tender. Add 3 or 4 handfuls of noodles...I used medium noodles and some rigatoni that I had...and cook till tender. Add the chicken back to the soup mixture, taste and adjust flavor and voila...soup.

This recipe changes every time I make it. Sometimes I add a bit of cumin. Today I added fresh parsley at the end for a nice fresh taste.

Next time the rain comes down or it's a windy, snowy day...put a pot of soup on to cook and you will say...Mmmmmmm Good!



Judy said...

YUM, YUM, your soup sounds so good and nourishing. I grew up on chicken noodle soup. My dad thought it would cure anything. Like you, I love experimenting with different spices when I make it. It has rained here all day. I went to the grocery and got wet. I may have to make some soup, too.

Barbee' said...

Now, you have made me very hungry! Another twist I do when we are both hungry and don't have time to do much cooking. I just use the canned chick noodle from the cupboard then when it is boiling, I drizzle in an egg that has been whipped a little to loosen it well. I pour it slowly in a thin stream into the hot soup so that it cooks as it hits the soup. We love it that way, and if we have a little left over cooked rice, I will stir in a little of that, then add a goodly shake of black pepper. A dash of hot pepper sauce has been known to find its way in there, too. The power of suggestion is strong; I bet we have soup tonight!

Margie's Musings said...

We had stew yesterday It was great!

Soup sounds good too.

One Woman's Journey said...

I have been thinking of chicken soup - also.
On the way home from a dental appointment on Monday I stopped at the grocery and bought 2 small chickens (one woman size) had them cut in two. I freeze and when I want to make soup or another dish I have 1/2 chicken to do it.
Sounds good!!!

azplantlady said...

Hello Balisha,

Soup is a great idea! Our temperatures are going to drop by 25 degrees tomorrow and there is nothing better then a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold day.

fairegarden said...

What a pleasure to have soup on a cold grey day! We always make extra stock from our chicken to freeze for the future soups. I also loved your story of the bird houses, the new resident and especially the little house where the hook had become part of the tree! So safe for the sweet little wrens. Those are our favorite birds here too. They are so brave and determined for being so small. :-)

garden girl said...

Well now you've gone and done it Balisha - pushed me over the edge to make some chicken soup! I love the stuff, especially in cold weather. I make big batches and freeze some too. I eat it a few times a week for lunch all winter. Maybe that's why I haven't had a cold or flu in several years.

Mom usually made either dumplings or matzo balls with her soup, and I do the same. I love both so much, it's hard to choose, and I've sometimes made both!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Mom used to make it with home made noodles or dumplings. Yum! I'm too lazy to make my own noodles;)