I’ve caught a bug over the past few days. Nothing too serious, just enough to clog my head — making it feel like it’s full of lead — where you try to breathe in through your nose and worry that your eyeballs will get sucked into your brain. Okay, I’m being a little dramatic.
Soup is often a miracle worker when it comes to having a cold. It’s a good way to ingest loads of good aromatics, garlic and liquid that’s easy for your stomach to digest.
And like I said only a couple of posts ago, soup used to scare me. Especially chicken soup. How was I to ever get full? It tasted too watery — too “Campbell’s soupy” that I didn’t like growing up. I try to stay away from noodles and rice, and in the past have added rice at the end of the soup to stretch it out — to have a little more for my belly to digest.
I made some chicken soup last night using some technique I’ve picked up over the years. I added some extra flavor so this soup would give me the most chicken-y, vegetable-y flavor I could fit into one bowl. This is how it goes.
What you’ll need:
1 – 3-4lb whole chicken
3 medium yellow onions, 2 cut in half, 1 finely diced
6 cloves of garlic, 3 smashed, 3 minced
6 ribs of celery, 3 cut in half, 3 finely diced
6 carrots, 3 cut in half, 3 finely diced
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp. canola/vegetable oil
What you’ll do:
In a big pot, throw in your chicken. Add your halved onions, carrots and celery. Add your smashed garlic. (A sprig of fresh thyme, if you have it) Fill it up with cold water till it covers the chicken. Add a few pinches of kosher salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the chicken is done, skimming off crud and foam as it floats to the top. About 20-25 minutes. Lift the chicken and make sure to drain the cavity juices into the pot before transferring to a plate for cooling. Continue to let your chicken broth (with veggies, etc.) simmer away while you cut up your veg and letting the chicken cool.
(Flavor note** By adding mirepoix (carrot, onion, celery) to your cooking liquid, you double the veggie flavor you get in your final dish. I love this. Such a good technique to pick up on.)
In a separate pot, toss in your oil and bring it up to a medium heat. Add your diced onion, carrot and celery. Add a pinch of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes till everything becomes soft. Add your garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
Strain the broth you cooked your chicken in. Or, scoop out the veg with a slotted spoon or sieve.
After your veg gets soft, add in your chicken broth (about 5-7 cups, perhaps. Really, however much you want.)
Bring it up to a simmer.
Now, this is the fun part. Take off the skin of the chicken in as big of pieces as you can. Reserve to the side. Take off all the meat and tear into bite size chunks. Throw into soup and warm through. Add your thyme and taste. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
When you’re ready to serve, grab a nonstick pan and start cooking the chicken skin on a medium heat. Don’t add any extra oil as the chicken skin still contains a good amount of fat. The skins will render and will shrink and crisp just like bacon.
Dish up your soup. Add a half tablespoon of butter to the bowl, if you want. I mean, butter is just too good and adds such a nice balance to the broth. Top with crumbled up fried chicken skin. The skin adds a good crunchy texture to the soup. Plus, it just makes it taste more chicken-y, and that was just what I wanted to do.
If you want, add a little hit of sriracha sauce if you want some extra heat. When you’re sick and can’t breathe, a little hit of spicy clears you right up. Not to mention, all the garlic in this soup is so, so good for you.