I was so lazy to get up this morning. It was one of the grey rainy days, when sipping hot tea and reading a book under fluffy blanket seems like the only good idea (unless there is more than just a teddy bear sleeping by your side ;). The only thing that actually got me out of bed was the fact that I wanted to buy meat at the market and the best pieces disappear early in the morning. I forced myself out of bed, grabbed my umbrella and went hunting.
While waiting in a line up I got the most brilliant idea – if summer left Brussels and autumn is here, it is time for a real strong chicken soup. I asked for a chicken skeleton, bought carrot and celeriac and happily walked home. I guess people thought I was crazy – too much of a smile for such weather.
Chicken stock is my superstar in the kitchen. It is dirty cheap (1,5 euro for skeleton and maybe 2 euro for the little bit of veggies and spices for 1 liter of soup), it keeps us warm, it can be breakfast, lunch or dinner, it can serve as a base for other soups or be served pure in a cup as a remedy for all problems of the world. And it’s freaking delicious.
If you have a trustworthy source of chicken (free range) and let it simmer for long enough, the soup actually jellifies even if without using beef bones. You will be left with amazing source of gelatin that helps our bones and joints, hair and nails. Ladies, it helps to fight cellulite! Jeez, and it is simply so delicious that no other reasons are needed! Hmmm… yes, it is second time I said it’s delicious. Because…IT IS!
Here is the recipe. I tried to be as accurate as possible with the ingredients, although I usually just throw things in by guesstimate.
Mom’s Chicken Soup
- 1 free range chicken skeleton
- 2 carrots
- Chunk of celeriac to equal the carrots
- 1 parsley (the root)
- About 5-8 leaves of lovage (can be skipped, emotional value for me – it is the only way to make it taste like my mom’s soup)
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 pieces of allspice
- 10 pieces of whole black pepper
- Wash the chicken skeleton in cold water and squeeze it into a pot. I use 2.5 liter and would go for 3 liters, if I had one.
- Cut the veggies into pieces big enough to fork out when they are super soft.
- Throw in all the spices.
- Pour in hot water so that everything is immersed. Cover with a lid.
- Bring to boil. Once the soup is boiling, bring down the temperature to very low (I use 1 on electric stove) and let simmer for hours. I tried everything between 4 and 8 hours. The longer the better, but try at least 6 hours. It is really worth it.
- After all the simmering time, let it cool down and fish the veggies out and put into a separate bowl. Fish out the chicken and everything that is left.
- Pour the soup through a cheese cloth to a smaller pot. You’ll be left with almost 1,5 liter of clear strong chicken broth. Taste and add salt, if needed.
- Now the hard work – there is lots of delicious meat on the skeleton that you can separate and use for the soup or salad, lettuce or omelet wraps. Seriously, there is A LOT. It takes time and patience, but it’s worth it.
My favorite way of enjoying chicken soup is to cut a bit of the cooked root veggies, add some skeleton meat and whisk an egg for hearty breakfast or post-workout meal. A cup of a hot pure broth on rainy days is comforting and it can be easily warmed up in the office microwave to make your working day so much nicer. It is an elixir of life, nr. 1 medicine, if you ever fall sick. It gives strength, vitamins and minerals so needed, if we feel under weather. Pure stock can also be frozen for later use.
Thank you for reading and let me know, how your chicken soup turned out! Do not hesitate to leave me a comment with suggestions on what soups you love that use chicken stock as a base!
Have a great weekend and live it loud!