There are times when you just crave something, you must have it and no amount of time spent making it is wasted. Or you know in your heart that this is just the best thing you can do for your family at the moment and they too must wait.
Canned or powered soups just don't cut it when prescribing for a cold, scratchy throat, runny eyes, feverish you know what I'm saying. You or someone you love feels miserable...what else but chicken soup.
Lately I've been doing quite a bit of remembering...like remembering my mother's chicken soup, or my aunt's excellent oatmeal..Oatmeal? I don't know what she did but it was wonderful. We had a discussion the other evening and it centered around eggs. Did you know that graduation from a culinary school requires three perfect egg dishes?
I finally fessed up, no, Bob I don't love your scrambled eggs, and Nicci I don't like yours either , too dry. I only like my mother's scrambled eggs. I have never been able to duplicate them, but I keep trying. Back to soup. I didn't like my mother's chicken soup either, she would always sneek cauliflower into the pot and that was a no no.
I did have a fave recipe, and I've misplaced it. after looking high and low I thought what the heck, be daring and try another. I settled on Ina Garten's Chicken Soup. It appears to be the closest to the one I lost. Here it is.
3 (5-pound) roasting chickens
3 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in half (optional)
20 sprigs fresh parsley
15 sprigs fresh thyme
20 sprigs fresh dill
1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
4 cups 1/4-inch-diced carrots
4 cups 1/4-inch-diced celery
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
Matzo Balls, (see recipe)
Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, and seasonings in a 16- to 20-quart stockpot. Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Remove 2 of the chickens and allow to cool slightly. Remove the breast meat from both chickens and set aside. Return the remaining chicken and carcasses to the pot and continue simmering, uncovered, for 3 more hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and chill. Remove the surface fat, then reheat the stock as follows, or pack in containers and freeze.
To serve the soup, return the stock to the pot and reheat, adding the diced carrots, celery, dill, and parsley. Shred the reserved chicken breast meat into large pieces and add to the stock. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes to cook the vegetables and reheat the chicken. Season, to taste, and serve as is, or ladle each serving over 2 warm Matzo Balls.
Tomorrow I will begin to make the stock. That too is from Ina Garten. This is a two day affair so I do hope my chilled family will be ready for it. Oh, I know they will wait.
Since there are literally hundreds of chicken soup recipes I thought you might like to add your special ingredients to this recipe. If I'm not mistaken there isn't a mention of nutmeg in this one...I always like that taste too.
Until then. Keep well. RD