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Chicken Soup

February 03, 2013 10:19 AM
Posted by Brown Paper Tickets
 
The weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter. The change of weather also ushers in the dreaded cold & flu season. It's important (especially for Food industry people) to go out and get our Flu shots and make sure we are stocked up on the essentials for dealing with the season.

Dayquil and Nyquil are both very strong and popular drugs, but what about going old school? What did our grandparents do to fight the harsh winter months and stay healthy and strong? Chicken Soup! Whether you like noodles, dumplings, matzo balls, or potatoes this has always been grandmas cure for the common cold. While there is no scientific evidence that supports grandma's claim that her chicken soup will cure anything, I'm a true believer.

Perhaps it's something we shouldn't over-think. Having a loved one spend hours in the kitchen lovingly cooking you soup of any kind should, if nothing else, lift your spirits. For me it's the smell that fills every corner of the housethat wonderful steam coming off of the pot, filling my nose and my heart with love.

For those of you with dietary restrictions (or don't eat chicken) I have included a vegetable stock recipe. You can make this stock in the same way you would chicken stock, freeze and store it or add your favorite ingredients to create a hearty vegetable soup. There are so many awesome variations when it comes to making soups. Root vegetable soup would be a suitable replacement to chicken soup in my opinion. Turnips, beets, rutabagas, parsnips, and the greens they come along with are all invited to swim in my soup pot. One thing's for sure, any kind of soup cures what ails youjust don't forget the most important ingredient: LOVE.

Here is a recipe for chicken noodle soup that I hope you all enjoy, sniffles or not.

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Chicken Soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium yellow onion  inch dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots peeled  inch dice
2 celery ribs diced  inch dice
2 fresh thyme sprigs stemmed and chopped roughly
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows (you can use canned as a last resort)
1 8 oz package dried wide egg noodles (any noodle you like is fine here)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes until the vegetables are softened, but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Chicken/Vegetable Stock

Ingredients

1 large chicken quartered (free-range organic) rinsed well  * If you are making vegetable stock you can add 1 large turnip, in place of the chicken
2 carrots, cut in 2 inch segments (double for vegetable stock)
3 celery stalks, cut in 2 inch segments (double for vegetable stock)
2 large white onions quartered (add one large leek cleaned and rough chopped for vegetable stock)
3-4 cloves of garlic
3 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Directions

Place all ingredients in a large stock pot and cover with approximately 3 quarts of cold water or until the ingredients are just covered. Dimensions of the post and the size of your chicken may effect this and so the amount of water needed to cover may vary. It is important that the ingredients are floating slightly. Bring the stock up to a gentle simmer over medium heat making sure not to boil it. As it cooks, skim the foam that rise to the surface with a large serving spoon or a shallow ladle. Add a little water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering. Simmer the stock until the chicken is cooked through about 30 minutes then turn it off and allow it to cool for an additional 15 minutes. Once the stock has cooled you can skin the fat and remaining impurities from the top.

Move the chicken carefully to a large flat container such as a casserole dish or cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, hand-shred the meat into a storage container discarding the skin and bones.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot or large heat-proof container. You could strain the stock directly into your soup pot containing the sautéed vegetable and chicken you shredded. If you are not using the stock immediately you should place the container in a sink full of ice water until it is cool enough to store in the fridge or freeze. I like to freeze mine in re-used plastic take out containers that you get when you get from many Thai and pho restaurants. If you do this you should only fill them about 2/3 as the liquid will expand as it freezes.
 

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