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Sunday
Jan152012

« Chicken Soup »

After weeks of unseasonable warm weather, old man winter finally paid a visit to NYC on Friday evening. And in his honor, I made chicken soup for dinner.

Chicken soup is extremely easy to make, provided that you have chicken stock on hand (see below). Luckily, I made a big pot earlier in the week, which I divided into quart size containers (2 quarts went into the freezer, and one was earmarked for dinner.)

I initially planned to make my great grandmother's homemade "drop noodles" (which are more akin to small dumplings than noodles). But after a particularly grueling day at work, braised veal and pork agnolotti from Eataly seemed like a more appealing option. Shredded chicken, cilantro, celery leaves, carrots and celery were added for good measure, as well as texture and color.*


If you are new to making chicken stock, here are a few pointers:

  • Bones make great stock -- so be sure to save (i.e. freeze) the back bone and breast bone if you are breaking down a whole bird. (Left over bones from a rotisserie chicken are also fair game, after the meat has been removed).
  • If you want a richer stock, or meat for soup, chicken thighs, legs or wings can be added to the pot. I typically avoid using breast meat, as it becomes too dry.
  • Before adding the aromatic vegetables (i.e. onions, celery and carrots), herbs and spices to the pot, skim the fat and impurities from the surface.
  • Do not add salt until the very end.
  • For clear stock: simmer the stock slowly for several hours. Boiling will turn the stock opaque.
  • The finished stock should be strained to remove the solids and any residual impurities. I typically use a fine mesh strainer, with good results. (For ultra clear broth, line the strainer with a piece of cheese cloth.)

Want to give  it a try? The printable recipe is here

* This is what I had in the house. But any protein, vegetable, herb or starch is fair game. I add delicate vegetables (i.e. celery leaves, baby spinach, swiss chard) and fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, green onions) immediately before serving. This helps to retain their structure and color. 

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