Chicken soup for the weary soul

30 Mar 2020 | 12:09

Back on March 10, my editor suggested I contribute a chicken soup recipe for this issue. The world was just starting to shift. Today, as the month draws to a close, shelter in place orders are in full effect. As I chopped, sautéed and boiled, I attended my family’s new “Sunday hangout” online. I perched my laptop on a mixing bowl and technology connected eight of us via video conference. I listened as my brother’s children romped, my sister shared about her current layoff and my dad reported that his visits to the hospital for radiation treatment are going fine, for now. Occasionally, I chimed in to say “I was making soup for the magazine” and “needed to write something this evening.” My sister suggested to touch on mindfulness, how cooking can bring us home to the moment, appreciating color, smell, taste, touch, connection. When the soup was ready, I announced I had to go, everyone said they did too, I was making them hungry. I took in everyone on-screen and told them, “I love you all and I am sending you a bowl right now.”

Anisko Family Chicken Soup

Ingredients

Stock:

1 whole organic chicken, cut in pieces

1 large onion

3 large carrots

4 large stalks of celery

2 large bay leaves

4 black peppercorns

1 teaspoon of salt

Fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary, thyme

Water

Soup:

3 tablespoons oil

1 large onion chopped

3 large carrots chopped

3 large stalks of celery chopped

3 large pieces of garlic minced

1 parsnip cubed

1 turnip cubed

1 box macaroni

Salt and pepper

Handful of chopped fresh herbs or 3 tablespoons dry

For the stock:

I recommend making a rich satisfying stock, but if you prefer to purchase stock, skip to the soup section below. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a roasting pan with parchment. Cut meat away from the bones, cartilage, and tendons. This does not have to be perfect, some meat will stay attached – that’s fine. Arrange bones, cartilage and tendons in pan, salt and pepper liberally, and roast until slightly crispy and juices start to brown at the bottom of the pan. Peel onion and carrots, wash celery well and add to a large stock pot. Add chicken bits as well as the drippings from the bottom of the pan. Add water until it completely covers vegetables and meat. Finally, toss in bay leaves, peppercorns, salt and a healthy handful of fresh herbs. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce heat and simmer with a tight fitting lid at least 1 1/2 hours, or more if you would like to the stock to be richer in collagen, almost on its way to bone broth.

For the soup:

While the stock is cooking, prepare a roasting pan again. This time, arrange meat, liberally salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees for about 25 – 35 minutes. You do not want to completely cook the chicken. Take it out when it is brown but not too crispy. Let stock pot cool down enough to handle, and strain stock into a large bowl. I make homemade dog food out of the leftover stock carrots, celery, chicken bits and skin by pulsing them in the food processor a few moments. My dog loves it.

Heat large pot over medium-high heat. Add oil once the pot is hot. After about 30 seconds, add chopped onions, carrots and celery. Sauté for about six to eight minutes, until soft. Add minced garlic and cook about 45 seconds. If adding dry herbs, do so now with parsnips and turnip. Add stock and bring to a boil. Remove skin from roasted chicken, break into pieces and add to the pot. When boiling, add macaroni and bring to a medium simmer. Once pasta is cooked, sprinkle fresh chopped herbs and serve.