Monday, March 30, 2009

The Yarnarian and Chickens

Yesterday was Chicken Soup Sunday! Twice a year, before Passover and Rosh Hashana, the Hubbo and I go into chicken soup mode. We make tons and tons of chicken soup, and then when the holidays are done, we have enough leftover for cooking and colds, etc.

So yesterday we hauled out the vat, dumped in lots of chicken parts, plus a leftover roast chicken carcass, and all the wonderful ingredients that make this soup, and cooked it until the chicken had no flavor left at all, and the broth was mighty tasty.

Here's what goes into it. No specific amounts, just whatever lands in my hand:

chicken parts
water (duh)
carrots, celery, onions, parsnips, garlic, fresh parsley and dill. How many? Lots, and nice big handfuls of the herbs. The dill is pretty critical to give it that soupy love.
Peppercorns, whole cloves, bay leaves, ginger (either fresh or dried)

That's the basis. If I have almost dead mushrooms, I'll add them.

Cook forever, season with salt, and freshly ground black pepper, taste. If it seems weak, remove all the ingredients so that all you have left is broth and boil down a bit. Strain, and then strain again in a very fine mesh strainer to get rid of the goop and scum. That's it. Freeze. Enjoy.

I put the carrots, celery and parsnips into separate containers and freeze those too.

And now you have my secret recipe for Jewish penicillin. Works like a charm.

What else did we do? We started the clean-up process for Passover. Being confirmed sloppy people, we do not do the whole clean the house from top to bottom thing, but we do engage in our once a year putting all the crap away activity. Holidays and company keep us honest: we have to clean-up, a most stressful activity! So I worked on the yarn mess in the living room and guest room. The Hubbo began the den clean-up. The Schmutz Meister (loosely translated: the master of dirt) has a lot of serious junk all over the house, but especially in the den and dining room. And you know that there is no place safe from yarn in this house. I need a studio!

Then I did my bills, which I hate with a passion, laundry, which I don't mind doing, worked on designs, etc, etc.

By 3:00 we were tired and grumpy. Cleaning doesn't come naturally to us; we fight it tooth and nail. Living in chaos doesn't bother us much, but every now and then, ya gotta clean the mess up. So at that point we said enough. And then we hit the highlight of the day: We walked the Traction Line past Fairleigh Dickinson University. The Traction Line is part of the Morris County parks system. It's a walking, biking paved road that parallels the train line. No cars, just bikers, walkers, runners, strollers. The part of the line we walked has a very gentle slope downwards, and when you walk it, you think how nice it is. Ahem. What goes down, must come back up. So the gentle decline becomes a not-so-gentle incline. We did it to the tune of over a couple of miles including our walk from and back home. Such good exercisers. Watch out, Biggest Loser, we're exercising too!

And then we came home, futzed with the soup, made our own individual suppers and enjoyed 2 episodes of Boston Legal.

Denny Crane!


Anonymous said...

Fritzl your soup sounds just like mine, that is until I purchased Cook's Illustrated Winter 2008 Soups and Stews.Their recipe calls for browning the onion and the lightly browning the chicken (about 5 minutes per side)and then return the onion and chicken to the pot and "sweat" it over low heat for about 20 minutes. Then add water and spices...I was shocked at the difference in flavor
"try it you'll like it"

Anonymous said...

Ruth --

Richard asks why you freeze the stock and the goodies separately? We have always gasped with horror at the recipes that say, "Discard vegetables..." and I realize you're not doing that. But why do you not keep them all together when you freeze?



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