By Chef Domenica Catelli
Never underestimate the power of homemade chicken soup. From the comforting aromas that fill the kitchen to the soothing taste, there is something about it that is uplifting and comforting at the same time. My daughter was home sick with a cough this week that seems to be traveling in an endless circle around her school. Soup was on her mind and I happened to be working from home on Monday.
Here is my outline for my soup. Use this as a guide and inspiration but also to help you use up veggies and herbs you may have at home already. For those of us who tend to bite off more than we can chew at the grocery store and fill up our veggie drawer at home, this may be a good way to use these up just before they start to go bad!
Also, another tip—the next time you have leftover rice, freeze it. Then when you decide to have soup night, it is ready for you! You just have to throw it into the hot broth for a few minutes to thaw out and you have instant chicken and rice soup!
I use a whole organic chicken, a large pot, a few onions (skins on), at least 1 head of garlic, cloves pulled off and smashed with the back of a pan or knife (again, you can leave skins on), a few stalks of celery, fresh herbs, a bay leaf, 2-4 large carrots, and if I have ginger in the frig I’ll put in a 1-2 inch piece, smashed.
I start with a bit of extra virgin olive oil in the pot and add the onion, cut into large chunks, the garlic, fresh herbs, a bay leaf, and all the veggies and stir. I then add the chicken, whole. I let it get a little brown before filling the pot with water. I add a few generous pinches of kosher salt and bring this to a boil. From there I turn down the heat and simmer about 2 hours.
At this point, the chicken is falling off the bone. Strain your broth (and all veggies and casings that were in there will be strained out as well) and pull meat off of the bones when it’s cool enough. Add the chicken meat back to a pot with the broth that was strained earlier, reheat and add your rice. At this point you can add new small diced-up carrots and celery for an extra crunch, or a couple of handfuls of spinach leaves. Before you serve, add fresh or dried dill, and the juice of 1-2 lemons. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This soup is always a hit at my house and seems to get anyone cheered up.
Until next time stay fresh and delicious!