Day 2: Soup for a Rainy (or Snowy) Day

*This post marks Day 2 of Miss Ginsu’s 2007 Advent Calendar.

Chicken soup is now scientifically proven to alleviate symptoms of the common cold (and even if it wasn’t… it’s so warm and soothing we probably shouldn’t care about the scientific studies that much anyway). I think it makes sense to keep a few pints of it in the freezer.

Why? Well, what if you should happen to catch a cold? It is, after all, cold season.

If you’ve prepared in advance, a welcoming bowl of home-cooked soup is sitting right there waiting for you to warm it up. And if a friend or loved one gets the flu… you get to be Jenny on the Spot… there, soup in hand, to rescue the poor dear with a lightning-fast delivery of love. The well-stocked domestic goddess is a good friend to have.

If you happen to be one of the many who enjoy the convenience of the rotisserie chicken, you’re already halfway there.

Step 1: Rotisserie Chicken Stock

Eat most of the rotisserie chicken, saving aside all the bones and excess skin. In a separate container, save out about 1 cup chopped chicken for the soup. You can use white meat, dark meat or a combination of the two.

Put the bones in a large stock pot and cover with water (about 2 quarts).

1 bay leaf
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 medium onions (quartered)
2 carrots (roughly chopped)
2 celery stalks (roughly chopped)
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
A handful of parsley stems

Simmer, covered, for an hour to an hour and a half.

When the bones are boiled bare and the vegetables are soft, place a colander (or a sieve) over a suitably-sized pot or bowl and carefully pour the hot liquid through, catching the solid materials in the colander. Discard all the bones, herbs and veggies. You can cool the stock and store it in convenient pint-size containers in the freezer or move right on to…

Step 2: Comforting Chicken Soup

4 cups chicken stock (the rotisserie version or otherwise made/purchased)
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots or parsnips, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chicken meat, chopped (reserved from the rotisserie chicken)
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley, dill or tarragon
Salt & pepper, to taste

Optional fanciness for serving:
lime or lemon wedges
matzo balls, cooked egg noodles or rice

Over high heat, bring stock to a boil in a large stockpot with lid on. Add onion, celery, carrot/parsnip and garlic. Lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Add chicken and simmer 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, add herbs and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add in cooked noodles, rice or matzo balls (if using).* Finish with a squeeze of citrus, if desired.

Serve immediately, or cool and ladle into pint or quart containers to freeze for future tastiness and/or rescue missions.

* If you’re planning to freeze this soup, I’d recommend leaving out the starch.

Cheers, Miss G.

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