Everyday Chicken Soup

It is early Sunday afternoon in Dallas; it’s raining, and the temperature is dropping.  The weather channel is forecasting an evening full of sleet and possible snow.  I would like to say that I am very happy with the notion of getting an extra day off.  So, what would be best to have on a very cold February night, one might ask?  Aside from a large mug of steaming hot chocolate, chicken soup comes to mind.  I have to feed my family after all.

My husband is upstairs in his office working, and my daughter is sitting in the dining room working on her science project.  I decide to start on dinner.  I have been known to spend more time than needed in the kitchen.  And this chicken soup takes quite a while to make; however, you can always modify it to take no more than an hour.  I will elaborate on that later in this post.  Let’s begin by making the stock.  I use an 8 quart pot for what will yield about 3 quarts of fortified stock.  Also, in this recipe, I used two organic chicken breasts with the skin still on and the bone still in; however, you can make it with a whole chicken or chicken thighs.  My reasoning is that my family and I prefer white meat, simple as that.

STOCK

2 Chicken breasts bone-in, skin-on
3 Carrots
2 Celery stick
1 large yellow Onion
3 Bay Leaves
4 Thyme springs –
4 large Garlic clove
1 bunch of Italian Parsley – (use the sprigs for the stock, leave the leaves for the soup at the end)
3 Tablespoon of kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon whole Black Peppercorns
6 quarts of cold Water

Place everything in the pot, and place it on the stove over medium high heat, until it starts to boil.  When it boils, turn the heat down; it needs to be between a soft boil and a simmer.  After 45 minutes, remove the chicken, place them on a plate, and let them cool for a few minutes.  This is where you decide whether to make the long version, where the stock has a very deep flavor, or if you want to make the short version, that is delicious in any case.  For the longer version, remove the bones from the chicken once you are able to do so without burning your fingers, then toss them back in the stock.  Add 5 cups of cold water, and let the stock cook for another hour.  After which, you will strain the stock in a fine mesh strainer, return it to the stove, and add the desired vegetables (listed below) and the de-boned chopped or shredded chicken.

For the shorter version, once you remove the chicken from the pot to cool down, strain the stock with a fine mesh strainer.  Return the stock to the stove and add the following:

SOUP

12 Mushrooms sliced
6 Carrots
1 yellow Onion
1 cup Peas
1 bunch of Italian Parsley

Once you have strained the soup to get a clear golden broth, place the chopped onions, carrots, and mushrooms in the pot and cook for about 30 minutes over medium heat.  After the vegetables are softened, add the peas, the shredded or chopped chicken, and finely chopped parsley.  I know a whole bunch of parsley seems like much, but trust me, it makes the soup taste better, look better, and is very good for you.  Let steep in the broth for about 5 minutes, then ENJOY!


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