Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Chicken Soup to soothe the soul (and the tummy)!

I have been poorly sick, and I am never sick. I managed to contract the horrible Norovirus, otherwise known as the Winter Vomiting Bug, which is about right let me tell you...... yesterday was a complete write off, I could barely move let alone eat, in fact the mere thought of food made me feel worse - I must have been bad. After a rather restless night I emerged this morning feeling a bit better and in desperate need of something comforting but very simple to eat and what better than some chicken soup, although this recipe is more like a broth. There's a reason why they call this Jewish penicillin; once I'd finally made it the bowl of golden nectar instantly nourished and soothed me without making my tummy angry! Now it takes time but when your stuck indoors ill that's not really an issue and at this time of year when colds, flu and bugs are everywhere a bowl of this is all you really need.....

Chicken Soup/ Broth

1 medium sized chicken, no giblets
some chicken wings (I used about 10)
1 onion unpeeled sliced in half
2 carrots unpeeled and snapped in two
1 stalk of celery snapped in two plus a few sprigs of celery leaves
couple of bay leaves
teaspoon of black peppercorns
dessert spoon of sea salt

So you basically put everything, bar the chicken wings, in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring this to the boil and then turn it down to a gentle simmer, really gentle you then can leave it alone for about and 1 - 1/2 hours or until it look's a bit like this:

You then gently remove the chicken from the pan making sure you don't loose too much of the liquid. I then took the opportunity remove some of the scummy bits that gather on the surface of the pan. Back to the chicken - remove as much meat as you can from the chicken and put the carcass back into the pan along with the chicken wings - this may seem odd and it wasn't something that i'd thought of doing before until I read that it really helps enhance the flavour - plus you will be left with some yummy chicken to use in other dishes:

I already have plans for this meat.....

Back to the soup you need to let it simmer some more - another hour I'd say, gently skimming it as you potter by. Now comes the slightly time consuming part but please stick with it, it is well worth it. so you drain it through a sieve for the first time, then a second time and then i drain it through a muslin. Seems like a lot of strain and hassle but when you see the unadulterated golden amber liquid it is well worth it. return it to the heat, skim of any remaining fat and serve:

The photo doesn't do it justice, it truly is a beautiful dish. You could add some rice noodles, some chilli, some ginger, soba noodles, some carrot sticks, some of the torn pieces of chicken etc etc.... I happen to believe that this dish is beautiful in it's most simple form.

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