Monday, October 1, 2018

Chicken Soup: Curing What Ails You

I am not sure about the history of chicken soup.  I know it has been called penicillin in some circles but most people feel it is guaranteed to put you on the road to recovery.  Children are back at school, and the flu is starting to rear it's ugly head.  It is definitely the start of chicken soup season.  There are plenty of ways to make it, some make matzo ball soup, I make dumplings. 

Basic Stock:

4 - 5 pound chicken cut up
2 medium onions peeled and chopped
2 - 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 carrot trimmed and scrubbed
1 T dried parsley -- 2 T if fresh
2 bay leaves
2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
12 cups cold water

Dig out a large soup pot place all ingredients and water into the pot an have the water cover the ingredients by four inches.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 2 hours covered.  Then remove the cover and simmer for another hour or two.

Strain the stock and remove the solid ingredients.  If you are not using the stock the same day, cool it down and place it in the fridge overnight.  The fat will become solid on the top.  You can skim it off or you can leave it if you prefer.  If using the same day you can use a fat strainer if you want to cut down on the fat.  I chop the chicken up to use the soup. 

Back in my Navy wife days, we used to have a fire on the front lawn of a neighbor in the fall.  One day she doled out her chicken soup, it was good!  A pinch or oregano, that is all that separated hers from mine and I have added it to my soup for the last 30 years.
While the soup is heating make your dumpling recipe.

My mother-in-law's dumpling recipe:

4 eggs
2 half egg shell's worth of cooking oil
2 half egg shell's worth of milk
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cream of tartar
Flour until it is stiff enough to roll

I use a floured mat to roll out the dumplings and a pizza cutter to cut them into squares and put them in the soup.  It simmer about half an hour, the dumplings should be floating to the top.

It is not an exact science, put what you like.  Some days I add a little spice, a dash or Worcester sauce, whatever the mood is.  If the soup doesn't thicken the way we like I will add a can of cream of chicken soup.  Play around with it, it might cure what ails you.

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