Do small things with great love…
Chicken Soup has been known for centuries as having medicinal properties; it is known as Jewish penicillin and the inherent wisdom of generations can be tasted with every sip.
Chicken soup not only has the wisdom of your grandparents and the generations that came before, it also has a life lesson embedded within it. It is a delicate and complex dish and the resulting taste is a function of what you put in, as so is life. Life is an echo of what you send out, what you sow, what you give. It can be as complex or as simple as you make it, have as much depth as you choose to give it and is always a reflection of what you decide to put in.
For this recipe, it was important to me to find the best source of chicken available, and thus off I headed to the farmers market. I picked up my chicken from Chestnut Farms (http://chestnutfarm.org). The chickens live life on a school bus on the farm, where they are protected at night and have the fresh green grass and field peas to enjoy during the day. I picked up a soup starter pack for $5, which is the backbones of the chicken, but you can use a couple of legs and thighs or a whole chicken if you prefer. You just need to make sure there is bone in the chicken you put in (hence the name), as that is where a lot of the immune strengthening ingredients come from.
Traditionally a mirepoix (mix of onion, celery, carrot) is also included, as is the base of vegetable broth, but I choose to omit the onions in chicken soup. After that it is up to you what you add in terms of the spices that add the depth. I have made a classic version, but you can adapt this to taste, adding fish sauce and chilli for an Asian twist or mushrooms, chorizo and a splash of sherry for a bit of umami.
There is no wrong combination, just the integrity of your ingredients and the overlay of your palate, so to is the recipe of life, integrity and your values to guide you, the rest will work itself out.
- 1lb high welfare chicken
- 2 sticks celery, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp. whole peppercorns
- Sea salt to taste
- 1 rasher, high welfare bacon (optional)
- Put your chicken, carrots, celery and bacon if using into a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil
- Turn down the heat and simmer slowly for an hour and a quarter
- Skim the white residue off the top every so often
- If you are using chicken pieces instead of just bones, after an hour and a quarter remove the chicken and take the meat off the bones to be used in other dishes or added back in to the broth when ready to eat
- You can keep the bones simmering for hours, the longer it is on the heat, the more taste and nutrients you will get
- After a few hours, taste and season with salt
- Ladle the soup into bowls or jars to cool and keep in the fridge
- The resulting broth should look like a clear consommé
- To serve (see picture) I added rice noodles (simmer in the broth for 3 mins) and scallions