Thursday, May 25, 2017

everything i currently need

I make this soup almost every Monday. Because it is pretty much the edible antidote for everything trying about Mondays. It’s both comforting and healthy, salty and simple and it’s one of the only vehicles for vegetables that I can get my two year old to eat. And by eat I mean jam down his gullet while I distract him with a Dr. Seuss book/ have him in a (light) headlock. Parenting: you will do ALL the THINGS you swore you would never do. And then some.

Would you even believe if I told you that I had never made chicken soup until this very year? I can scarcely believe it myself. I have made pretty much every other soup and most are well documented here. Including not one, not two but THREE lentil soups (read about them here, here, and here). For some reason chicken soup was always just a little boring to me, always a little less salty than I would prefer, the chicken a little too dry and always with some weird undesirable chicken bits that I’d rather not experience. So when I went to tackle chicken soup myself I knew it had to be easy and it had to be delicious. With layers of salty flavor. Because salt is my favorite, especially when it comes to soup. I changed up by using boneless, skinless thighs and it’s the type of shortcut that makes dreams come true. It made the soup taste like it had been simmered all day, when it came together in less than two hours, with only about 15 minutes of that time active cooking. You want this soup in your life. I know it's everything I currently need in mine. All your future Mondays will thank you.


2 tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium to large carrots, peeled and diced
3-4 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. fresh turmeric root*, grated (optional)
1 tsp. fresh ginger*, grated (optional)
2 32-oz. Containers chicken stock; or, 8-10 cups homemade
1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt, pepper
Parsley and chives (optional)
Grain or noodles of your choice: I use either Ditalini, brown basmati rice or farro, depending on what’s in the pantry. Prepare according to package instructions and hold separately from soup until ready to serve.

*I store turmeric and ginger root in my freezer and grate them into everything using a microplane. No need to peel. A super useful tip I found in one of Joanne Chang’s cookbooks. I grate them into everything: stir fries, smoothies, soups and curries.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery, salting and peppering after each addition (crucial, in my opinion to building nice salty flavor). Add garlic, ginger and turmeric, if using and stir well to coat. Pour in stock, season with another addition of salt and pepper and bring up to a simmer. Gently slide chicken thighs into the simmering water. Turn heat up just a touch to bring it back up to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Let cook slowly over low heat for about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. Taste stock and season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.

Pull chicken thighs out and set on a cutting board. Using two forks shred chicken apart. It should come apart very easily, if it doesn’t return them to the stock to simmer another 10-15 minutes. You will end up with a big old pile of shredded chicken. Return half of the chicken to the soup and reserve the other half for future use. I usually make either chicken tacos or enchiladas with mine at a later date in the week. Once I made a pretty bomb chicken pot pie with it as well. It’s a great dinner short cut and another great reason to prep this soup early in the week.

To serve: scoop rice, pasta or farro into a large bowl and ladle soup over. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs if desired; or, a heaping grating of salty parmesan cheese.

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