This is not a food blog. I used to have one, though. It was focused on my autistic son and his food allergies and issues. I had to learn how to cook, and I mean really cook from scratch so that he could have healthy AND yummy food. I blogged about it. Some of my posts were shared more than 10,000 times. It was fun, but he outgrew his allergies and sensitivities. He also had gotten old enough to potentially be embarrassed if I posted something personal. So, I put up the keyboard, and let him tell his own story. Anyway, this is not a food blog, but I thought I would share something that made our COVID journey a little easier, chicken soup.
I prefer to eat vegetarian, but when I’m sick, there’s nothin like good chicken soup. I make my own homemade soup from scratch, and I’ve streamlined the process so that I have it available even when I’m too sick to cook it.
Whole chicken (the flavor is in the bones and skin) boiled until it’s falling off the bone makes the best broth. When I first started cooking soup with whole chickens, I would cook them in my pasta pot with the strainer in. That way I could just lift the chicken up out of the broth and flip it onto a plate to pull the chicken off the bone. No straining or fishing through the broth for bones that way. The pasta pot made it easier, but it would still take half a day to cook it until it was falling off the bone. That’s not feasible when you’re under the weather or just busy, so now I put whole chickens in my slow cookers and cook them on high for about 6 hours. No liquid in with them. This creates a concentrated broth that doesn’t taste bland when you add water. I use slow cooker liners so I can pull the chicken out, cut a hole in the bag and let the broth drain out without having to sift the pot for bones. The broth goes into a freezer safe container, then I pull the chicken meat off the bone and add it to the broth. Let it cool on the counter and freeze it. When I want to make soup, I put the frozen broth in a soup pot, add enough water to cover the block, bring it to a boil, then add whatever seasoning, noodles, dumplings etc. I want for that meal. It’s super easy and really awesome for when the weather gets colder.
One of the manifestations of my anxiety comes in over preparation. When things shut down and we were all quarantined, I dealt with some of my internal panic by stock piling soup base and chicken soup in my freezer in single serve and family serve containers. I was able to share with neighbors when they got sick, and we had plenty for us to eat when we got sick. Out of the base, I make chicken and dumplings, chicken tortilla soup and regular chicken noodle soup. The only soup I go ahead and make before I freeze is the chicken noodle.
For the chicken soup, I sauté carrots, onions and garlic in butter before adding them to the broth. Then I season it with salt, pepper, a couple bay leaves, thyme, and basil. I just season until it tastes right. Simmer for a little bit just to get the spices and veggies all good and saturated in the broth. Then add the noodles and cook according to directions. I use egg noodles so they hold up well to freezing and reheating. I let this cool and then put it into single serve and family serve containers and freeze it.
Now, I’m not really sharing the recipe for the soup as much as I’m sharing how easy it is to prepare something healthy to rely on if you get corona virus or the flu or any other ailment that would cause you to need some healing soup.
If you don’t get sick, you can share your soup with those around you who may need a little extra love.