My Log Cabin in Alaska

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Chicken Soup

No, this one will not go to the stewpot

     Mmmmmm. A fine day’s work today. And it’s early enough to do more if the spirit moves. I have a couple of chickens in the freezer and one in the stewpot. Yep, Chicken Soup tonight!
      Yes, Chicken soup is good for the soul. Good for the heart, mind, and any friend or loved one who may be feeling under the weather. Chicken soup is a great dish to impress the mother in law, or to have waiting for you in the slow cooker after a long hard day at work. Chicken soup is more than comfort food, and a good series of books, it is a spiritual teacher.

     I will share my recipe, of course, but then my children, and my cousins, already know my recipe…..throw in everything but the kitchen sink. It’s a family recipe, handed down from mother to daughter. The grandfather’s contributed, too, they usually brought in the cleaned and plucked chicken, and often times they grew the veggies that helped to fill the pot!
  • 1 fresh chicken, I use half these days since I only feed 2 now, and it is always the first one off the butchering table. Do not, I repeat, do not use a de-boned chicken! Those bones are important, cook ‘em down, crack ‘em and get that goodie out of them. Yeah, you can take the skin and fat off, but leave those bones in!
The rest of the ingredients are ‘to your taste’
  • Potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, cut to your favorite size
  • Turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, flavored with a bit of ginger and maybe some curry if you like
  • You can add some greens about an hour before it’s ready to serve, ever thought of chopping up a handful of Swiss Chard in your soup? Yum!
  • Season your soup with just about anything, I put several cloves of garlic, cut into chunks, for the great flavor and nutrition.
  • I will almost always add a jar of home canned tomatoes (not going to plagiarize my special recipe with canned tomatoes!)
  • I also like a variety of summer squashes in my soup.
  • Fresh herbs, as many as you like, parsley is good for the heart, sage and rosemary give it a holiday flair, chili seasonings or hot sauce will give it a kick, Hey fix it to suit you
  • I will almost always add a handful, or two, of barley, give it a couple of hours if it is in the slow cooker
  • Noodles are a must, if this soup is to be a gift for a sick friend.
  • At the end, you can thicken it a bit if you wish, a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed into a half cup of water to keep your soup gluten free.
Oh, you say you like dumplings? Or fresh egg noodles? Well, that is a different blog altogether, so before you are ready to serve your soup, add the dumplings and cook as directed.

     But, there is another step, it is one of the most important steps in good cooking! You gotta taste it from time to time to make sure the seasonings are just right. You will need a tasting spoon, it will be sitting near your stirring spoon. I still have the wooden spoon that I got from my Aunt, and she got it from my Gramma. You will taste your soup from time to time and add a spice or a bit more water if you think it needs it. But, you will not be the final judge, and you know it. Before you set your soup on the table or take it to the neighbor or the Church potluck, you will have at least one other person taste it, just to make sure. Then, if it passes all the taste tests, it will be ready to serve.
     Now, isn’t that the same as writing? We put in our best skills, stringing words together, then grooming them to perfection. But give it that last taste test, take it to the critique group before trying to publish!

     Did I leave out your favorite veggie or seasoning? Or did I miss a great writing tip? Please click on that button down there and leave your comment. I’m still learning this blog stuff, so have some patience with me. Thanks!

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