Chicken soup...even though I am a vegetarian, it still smells really good! I definitely don't CONSUME chicken soup; but I do make it for my family come illness time and today is Kelly's day. Poor Thing!!! Kelly is yucky sick and has been in bed since yesterday, so chicken soup is definitely in order!!! I always make a different version of chicken soup so here's my recipe for today.
WAIT Before you read the paragraph below, read the SECRETS first!!! I promise...it will make "the difference"!! Yes, I could have placed the secrets before the paragraph, but that would have left one without the opportunity to use their mouse to scroll down and without the question as to which this sentence attempts to answer. How boring.
I begin by sautéing about 2 cups of chopped celery (stems and all ~secret: the stems actually hold the most flavor~), 1 chopped large yellow onion, and 4-6 (or 7-8!!!) cloves of chopped garlic in approximately 1/3 cup of EVOO (see secrets). After the veggies have sautéed for a few minutes (and that depends on the length of my patience, just don't burn them!!!), I add s/p (salt and pepper) to them because a little bit of salt brings out natural flavors in everything, and pepper...well, it just gives it that nice "peppery" flavor. Next, I add fresh herbs. See secret #3 about this because it is VERY important and one day it might make you feel hugged. After the veggies and herbs have had time to get to know each other (again, dependent on my patience, and the color of the veggies ~ secret: almost translucent~, and the herbs ~ secret: still greenish~, I add 32 ounces of vegetable broth. I make my own broth, but on a sneaky occasion I use an organic, sodium free, veggie broth from a paper-box-like container. Then, I add 4-6 cups of water, depending on how much room there is in the pot. Finally, I jump into my latex surgical gloves and very carefully add two or three large pieces of DEAD CHICKEN (~secret: important that it is bone-in, freshly dead, and organic). I then cover it with a lid and allow it to come to a boil. Once it's boiling I turn the heat down the low and let it cook for as long as my patience allow. At some point I add the lemon. You really need to read secret#4 about this process as it is not only….well, just read it!! Finally, I NEVER serve chicken soup without cooking it for at least 3 hours, but after that...good to go! O, I forgot…you have to pull the chicken off the bone and of course, discard the bones before you serve it. And I do that right before I serve it so that my carnivorous family enjoys the taste of the bone in their dead chicken. Thank you, carnivorous family.
If you choose to make this dish according to these suggestions, or any other recipe for that matter, please let me know how it turns out! I’d appreciate it. Thanks!
1. The EVOO is not just extra virgin olive oil, it is also first cold press...which is actually the most important quality of an olive oil.
2. Let's talk about s/p: Salt and Pepper. I use kosher salt for everyday cooking. I keep it out in a cute little bowl with a cute little spoon, and it’s just cute!!! It also enables whatever it is that I’m cooking to show its true colors, or flavors. I am completely and totally addicted to my peppermill and you will NEVER consume pre-ground or pre-contained pepper in my home. NO, NO, NO!!! I grind my pepper (either in a coffee grinder if I’m doing a BIG cook, or just from the peppermill for daily cooking) right before I use it. It really makes a difference that continues to amaze the consumers of my food. They take a bite and then look up with awe-struck eyes…how did she do that??!!??!! I really never simply say that it’s all about fresh, natural ingredients; instead I just blink my eyelashes and enjoy the compliments. Tacky. I know. Totally selfish. Sorry.
3. Now, about the herbs and the lemon... Listen, if you are brave enough to grow your own herbs, USE THEM!!! You can make anything with a variety of herbs. If you don’t grow your own, IT IS OKAY!! The grocery store and farmer’s markets will happily sell them to you for a fine penny. Today, I used fresh rosemary and thyme ~ a small handful of rosemary and a larger handful of thyme. Instead of stripping the stems of these 2 herbs I just dropped them in the soup because they fall off their stem. JUST REMEMBER TO TAKE THE STEMS OUT BEFORE SERVING!!!
4. The lemon: I just happened to be enjoying a gin and tonic with fresh squeezed lemon juice while making the chicken soup. I really don’t like to waste food (I compost, duh), and I needed to hide the evidence of my “almost noon” beverage; so after I cut the poor little lemon in half and borrowed some of its juice for my beverage, I dropped the 2 halves of the lemon into the soup. Seriously! It gives it just a hint of lemon/citrus flavor and it takes care of the evidence. Brilliant. Until you blog about it.
Finally, with all of these fresh, lively (except for the chicken) ingredients, one could name this dish a number of sophisticated names. Here are a few I’m considering:
Dead Chicken Soup with Lemon and Thyme (notice I didn’t include the rosemary in this title…it’s OKAY…no need to tell them EVERTHING!!!)
Chicken Soup with rosemary and lemon (sounds very official, doesn’t it!?!)
Chicken Soup (seriously? NO!!)
Soupe de gobble gobble with fresh herbs (silent h…that is…) Although, I think gobble, gobble represents a turkey, which you could sub for the chicken!
I’ve not settled on the official name yet, but one day it will come to me.
The Vegetarian who loves her carnivores,