Mains,  Recipes

Not Your Mum’s Chicken Soup

{Chicken Soup for the Soul}

Nothing soothes the soul in trying times like a chicken soup that is not your mum’s. And I think now is the perfect time for a twist on the simple classic. Because hey, it’s 2020. We’ve got a global pandemic, a country divided, terrorist attacks a-plenty; we all just need to refocus and chill over a bowl of hardy chicken soup (and maybe a glass of sauvignon blanc or three).

I’m still trying to figure out “my thang” when it comes to posting recipes on my blog. I’m not a huge fan of a back-story, but at the same time I love a good “why”. So I think I’ll cut to the chase and let the recipe speak for itself.

Tell me your thoughts, will you? What do you look for in a recipe post? What do you think is helpful? What hinders? How detailed, if at all, do you like the steps? Tips? Tricks? I want it all!

{Chicken & Alphabet Soup}

  • 1 medium onion, diced.
  • 2 large (3 medium) shallots diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced or minced.
  • 1 large knob of fresh ginger; peeled and diced.
  • 2 tablespoons (or a healthy clob as I prefer to call it) butter.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • 1/4 cup orange juice.
  • 1/4 cup white wine. Sauvignon blanc preferably, but honestly whatever you have in the cupboard is just fine.
  • 2 thighs and legs (preferably still attached).
  • 2 decent sized carrots; peeled and either diced or cut into slices. Whichever floats your boat.
  • 1 leek, the white and slightly green part, sliced.
  • 1/2 cup alphabet pasta
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning.
  • 2 Bay leaves.
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs of Rosemary, chopped.
  • Thyme leaves.
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube. (optional)

Place your chicken thighs and leg pieces into a pot with about 2-ish quarts of water; or, enough liquid to cover the chicken bits . Turn the heat on to about medium/high and get the water cooking. You’re going to boil your chicken and use the water for the soup. Boil your chicken pieces for about 25 minutes and then pull them out and set them on a plate to cool. If your chicken has skin on it, I recommend cutting the skin so it give the meat time cool while you’re working the rest of the soup.

You’ll want to save the water that the chicken boiled in! This is going to be the base of your soup liquid. This is going to add so much flavor you won’t regret it!

Place your oil and butter in your favorite pot. My go-to for literally everything is my 2.4 litre (2.5 qt) cocotte from Le Creuset. Obsessed and worth the investment! (Merci beaucoup mon amour!) Turn your heat on medium – high. You want to start out with a little heat to get the onions and shallots all hot and bothered. Once your butter has melted and little happy bubbles are starting to dance around you’ll want to introduce your onions and shallots to the party. Stir everything around to get all the pieces nice and coated.

Let them mingle for a good 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. You should notice the onions starting to transform a bit. Now would be a good time to add the ginger, garlic, orange juice and white wine. Just saying. You’re going to want this party to mingle a little while longer, allowing the cocktail you’ve got going to come up to a simmer. Once you see the happy bubble again, turn the heat down to low and allow to cook down to about half the liquid quantity.

Here’s where you’ll add the liquid from boiling the chicken bits. You’ll also want to add the carrots, leek, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, and bouillon cube. Turn up the heat a little to a get a slight rolling boil so the carrots will cook up tenderly. While those are simmering, now is a great time to to prepare the chicken.

Do not be afraid to get in there and get your hands dirty. Peel the skin off, feel for the pieces that are not edible (aka those annoyingly cartilage bits) and get rid of them. You’ll want to clean the bones of all the meat and dice them up into small bits for the soup. You’re going to add the chicken at the last minute because it’s already cooked. You’ll just need to warm it up.

When you can practically skewer the carrots with a fork smoothly (they’ll be tender), you’re ready to add the pasta. If you want to add pasta. Cook the pasta in the soup according to the directions on the package. My alphabet pasta takes 5 minutes at a good boil. When there’s about 1 minute 30 seconds left on the clock, I throw in the chicken.

At this point, take a little taste to see if you need to add any salt or pepper to season the soup. You’ll also want to remove the bay leaves. They are not recommended to consume.

Now, you should be good to go. All you need to do is enjoy!

Feel free to take liberties and add (or subtract) to your heart’s content. That’s what makes it not your mum’s chicken soup!

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