Growing up in the north country, fall and winter were not just long and dark, but cold and gloomy. So, to cheer up your spirit, and warm your chilly toes after a weekend spent out hiking, snowshoeing, or just an evening of shoveling the driveway, there’s nothing like the simple luxury of a piping bowl of homemade chicken soup.
The chicken soup I make in our tiny Manhattan apartment is a little different than the one my mom used to make for us growing up, (she’d often have 2 huge stockpots bubbling at once) but I always think of her when I make it.
3-4lb Whole Chicken
5 cloves of garlic sliced thinly
1 large Vidalia onion diced finely
Thumb’s length of ginger sliced
Thumb’s length of turmeric sliced in half
1Tbs miso paste
Spoonful of umami powder
2 Tbs chili oil
One head of celery cubed
3 medium carrots bias cut
3 medium parsnip bias cut
1lb crimini mushrooms sliced thinly
3 cups of greens of your choice (swiss chard is my favorite for this)
4 cups bone broth (brodo is my favorite)
Black sea salt & pepper
- In a large stock pot, over medium heat, sweat onion, celery, cumin, chili pepper, salt, lots of pepper, until translucent. Add in chicken, ginger and turmeric thumbs with bone broth, umami powder, and herbs.
- Cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, allowing the pot to simmer for 35-40 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken.
- Reducing the heat, carefully, take the chicken out, allowing it to cool on a cutting board. Once sufficently cooled, discard the skin, and shred the chicken finely, using a fork.
- Remove sliced ginger and turmeric, discard, and return shredded chicken to stock pot. Add in carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, miso, chili oil, and more salt if desired. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes, add in greens, and turn to low heat, until soft and cooked. Smell, taste, and assess if your palate would like more of any herb, or spice.
- If desired, in a separate pot, boil water to make your favorite tiny pasta – my husband loves orzo and pastina. Boil until al dente, rinse, adn serve the desired amount in bowls. If pasta isn’t your jam, roasted red potatoes, cooked quinoa, or millet can be a nice alternative. Ladle soup into each bowl over pasta or grain, drizzling a bit of chili oil over the top, to taste.
- Before you dig your spoon into your steamy bowl, take the opportunity to really experience your creation. How do the colors look to you, and make you feel? The shapes of the finely cut veggies – your handiwork – admire them! How does the bouquet of smells transport you, and make you feel? Yes, food is nourishment, absolutely, but it can also be a healing and soothing ritual. This allows for what we make, and consume to be more than fuel, but a transformative mindfulness experience – which makes the soup, or whatever food you make, taste that much better. And to me, that’s exactly what making, and enjoying a pot of chicken soup is – and that’s why I think it’s the best ever!