“Grandma knew best,” chicken soup is a great remedy when sick. I’ve found that the broth from an old layer hen is the richest, tastiest, most satisfying food when it’s chilly outside or I’m not feeling up to par. I’m offering here a recipe for chicken soup; however, soup is a wonderful way to treat any and every vegetable. This recipe is from the Simply in Season cookbook (Harold Press).
Place one 3 lb. chicken in stock (or crock) pot in water to cover. Simmer for several hours until meat is falling from bones. Cool, remove meat from bones and cut into bite-size pieces. Reserve broth.
In stock pot, saute in 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and a little water for steam:
- 3 cp. carrots, diced
- 2 cp. celery, diced
- 2 med. onions, diced
- 1 med. parsnip, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
Add 1/2 tsp. ground red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat until vegetable are tender bu not mushy, about 15 minutes. Add enough water to the reserved chicken broth to make 12 cups. Add broth and chicken to vegetables.
Add to pot:
- 2 cp. broccoli florets
- 2 cp. kale (chopped)
- 1 1/2 tsp. fresh herbs
Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer to blend flavors.
That’s the basic recipe. If you like to cook with “this and that,” you can prepare the chicken and broth per the recipe, then add whatever vegetables you have on hand to the broth. Keep in mind cooking times to determine the order for adding them (for example, potatoes and carrots take about 15-20 minutes, greens just need to warm and wilt). I put salt, pepper, and the herbs that sound good in with the veggies. Herbs that compliment chicken well are thyme, marjoram, basil, sage, rosemary, parsley, chives. Onion and garlic are staple ingredients. I sometimes use soup or stew to recycle leftovers, even adding biscuits to the pot.
We have a lot of layers to cull from the flock this year if you are interested in a “slow food” chicken. They take a bit longer to cook, but the flavor and richness of the product is worth it. They are also great to can, and I can show you how to do that if you want to put away some “survival food.”