Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Is there anything more comforting than homemade chicken soup? I think not. Whether you are under the weather, or coming in from the weather, nothing warms and soothes you like chicken soup. It really is "for the Soul".

Chicken soup can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. All you need is some basics. So, put down that can opener and pick up your knife; because soup's on!

You can do this in either a slow cooker (my preference) or large stock pot.

First you want to start with you aromatic vegetables: onion, celery and carrot. You want roughly the same amount of each, but I tend to be light on the onion and heavy on the celery. You want to cook them slightly in a little oil. Once the onions have softened, add a clove or two of minced garlic. Cook the garlic a little and stir to keep from burning.

Next you add your chicken stock, about 1 litre (4 cups). Stock in a box is fine. I use the low sodium so I can control the amount of salt I put in. And add some herbs, whatever you like, really. Bay leaf is traditional, but parlsey, basil, oregano, marjorum, sage will all work too. You also want to check for salt and pepper. Now would be the time to add some other harder vegetables, like parsnips or even cabbage. Don't forget the chicken! About 2 cups cooked chicken should do. Dice it, shred it - whatever you want.

Bring the soup to a boil and let it simmer. In a slow cooker, turn on low and let it go.

Once the carrots and other hard vegetables are cooked you can add the rest, that is; softer vegetables: bell peppers, zucchini etc and your grain or noodle. You can use a short cut pasta, egg noodles, rice or barley. Don't add too much, especially with rice or barley. You'll end up with stew. 1/2 cup should be plenty. Noodles you can add a bit more.

Now that the grain or noodles are cooked, you are ready to serve. Finish off with some fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice and voila. A healthly bowl of chicken soup that feeds you, body and soul.

Experiment with chicken soup - you may never open a can again.

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