We held a Soup Swap this weekend and now we have a good stockpile of yummy homemade soups, made by friends, to get us through the winter!
This recipe pulls from a variety of sources: Julia Child and a few chefs I’ve known for the stock, this blogfor the cuteness factor*, my mother for the process, and numerous local farmers for the ingredients.
*note the cuteness
Julia keeps it simple by using the remnants of a roasted chicken, or cheap cuts of fresh poultry (like wings, backs, necks, etc.) as the basis for her stock. I usually use the remains of a roasted chicken dinner. Add carrots, celery, chopped onion, a handful of fresh parsley stems and a bay leaf or two, and cover with an inch of water. Salt comes later, she says. After the stock has been reduced a bit and the danger of being too salty is over. “Bring rapidly to the boil, and immediately reduce to the simmer – if you keep the stock boiling hard, you will cloud it, and it’s worthwhile keeping it clear, just in case you need clear stock.” Right. A chef once showed me that putting onions in with the skins on imparts a lovely color, so I do that, instead of peeling and chopping them.
After simmering for three hours (!), drain the stock through a colander, and then again through several layers of cheesecloth, chill, skim the fat from the chilled surface, and you’ve got stock!
Another chef tip I’ve picked up is to save all vegetable peelings, onion trimmings and herb stems in a zipper bag in the freezer for use in making stock. I usually forget and everything gets composted, but it’s something to strive for.
To start the soup, I chop and prep all of the vegetables at once so they’re ready to be dropped in. Carrots go first, as they take the longest to cook, then potatoes, celery and parsnips, and then fresh herbs just before serving. If I’m feeling worn down or I’m making this for someone else who is sick, I add a few tablespoons of chopped fresh ginger and a few chopped cloves of fresh garlic. It ‘aint fire cider, but it’s pretty effective for colds. I make a batch of grains (barley or spelt, usually) or pasta and keep it separate until serving. Then I simply ladle the hot soup over the grains and eat!
8-10 cups chicken stock (using Julia as my guide)
2 ½ cups chopped chicken meat
3 large carrots, cut into hearts (see this blogfor instructions on how achieve this genius!)
2 large potatoes, diced (1 ½ - 2 cups)
2-3 parsnips, cut into hearts (1 – ½ cups)
1 cup celery, cut into crescents (which also resemble hearts or smiles – alright, this is getting a little ridiculous, I admit)
kosher salt to taste
fresh dill or tarragon and parsley
1. Over medium flame, bring stock to a gentle simmer – do not boil. 2. Add carrots and cook for five minutes, then add parsnips, potatoes and celery and simmer until the vegetables are still slightly firm to the bite (the vegetables will keep cooking in the hot stock). 3. Add chicken meat and chopped fresh herbs, stir to heat through and remove soup from the heat. 4. Place a couple of spoonsful of grain into each bowl and ladle in soup. 5. Serve!
Carrots, Potatoes, Onions and Parsnips bulk purchase from Red Fire Farm