Sunday, October 20, 2013

ChezCindy: Chicken Soup Basic Recipe

Homemade chicken soup is a great go-to for comfort.  This recipe is easy to make using a store-bought chicken stock, and so much better than a can of any name brand on the grocery shelf.  Once you know how to make a basic recipe, you can create any style of chicken soup by adding a combination of extras: cooked egg noodles, rice, and any favorite vegetables.  Or add tiny Mexican meatballs and cooked pasta shells, for a Mexican meatball soup.   

Chicken Soup Basic Recipe
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 cups of water

1 quart Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 medium white onion
1 stalk celery
2 small carrots
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Options:  any combination, but not all
1 cup cooked rice
2 cups cooked egg noodles
1/2 cup green beans
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup cooked squash
1/2 cup of chopped canned tomatoes
1/2 cup cooked brussel sprouts
2 small leeks, cooked, chopped

Begin by poaching the chicken breast:  Place 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan, add the chicken breast.  Cover the pan.  Place over medium low heat for 15 minutes, slowly cooking until the chicken is firm to the touch.  Allow to cool in the water for about 5 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pan.  Save the poaching liquid to add to the soup.

Working with a large heavy bottom saucepan, add the oil to the pan, heating over medium high heat.  Chop the onion and celery into small 1/2-inch pieces.  Add to the pan; heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring a few times.  Peel the carrots, slice into thin rounds on the diagonal.  Add to the pan with the onions and celery.  Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  Stirring a few times, cook for 3-5 minutes.  Strain the poaching liquid into the vegetables.  Chop the poached chicken into bite-size pieces; add to the pan.  Add 3 cups of the Kitchen Basics stock to the pan.  Cover; reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  Add any of the optional cooked items at this time.  Adjust seasoning with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the white pepper.  Add more stock as necessary. 

A few comments on cooking stock.....
You can certainly make your own cooking stock.  I have from time to time, but most often, I use store bought.  The brand I like best is Kitchen Basics.  I recommend always buying unsalted, no matter what brand you buy.  Doing so, you can control the amount of salt you use in your recipe.