Feeling a little down? Chicken soup. Have a cold coming on? Chicken soup. Need some comfort food? Chicken soup. Just want something light? Chicken soup. It’s so versatile, right? Meets your (almost) every need. It’s also something I rarely make.
The chicken soup I grew up on had carrots, celery, and onions, sometimes rice, and good chunks of chicken. The stock did not stand out in my memory, but of course it was there, supporting the ingredients floating in it. I always liked chicken soup, but never gave it much thought.
I had dog-eared a ginger chicken broth recipe in Bon Appetit a couple of months ago, then forgot about it until a friend mentioned he had made it and it was excellent. Determined to give it a try, I gathered up the simple ingredients: onions, celery, carrots, lots of ginger, a small chicken. It simmered happily on the stove and smelled wonderful. When I tried it, it tasted healthy and pleasant and full of all things wholesome.
The recipe says to shred the chicken, place in bowls, then pour the broth over top. This was good, but a little plain for my taste. The next time around I added soba noodles and garnished with sliced scallions, which gave it a nice Asian twist. You know what else would be great? Toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
You’ll have extra broth on hand that you can use in future recipes or have plain as part of a cleansing diet (if you’re into that sort of thing). As far as the amount of chicken, Justin and I finished it in two meals, which I believe turned out to about 6 servings of chicken soup.
Chicken Ginger Soup
Adapted from Bon Appetit January 2012
Serves about 6, with extra broth
1 onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 oz. unpeeled, scrubbed ginger, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10 whole black peppercorns
3 pound whole organic chicken, cut into 7 pieces
6 quarts water
Combine everything in a large stock pot, placing chicken and chicken breasts on top. Add water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover with lid slightly ajar. Reduce heat to low, simmer until chicken breasts are just cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken breasts, let cool, then refrigerate. Continue to simmer broth, uncovered, for about 2 1/2 hours longer. Remove chicken from broth. When cool enough, shred into coarse pieces. Strain out solids from broth. Season broth with salt.
1 box soba noodles
scallions, sliced diagonally, for garnish
Return chicken pieces to broth and heat through. Cook soba noodles separately, then "shock" by rinsing under cold water. To serve, place noodles in bowls and ladle chicken soup over top. Garnish with scallions.
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