It’s time to fill the freezer with The Best Chicken Soup in the Universe

by Susan on November 11, 2012

I have been fighting off a cold for about two weeks now. TWO WEEKS! Every time I think I have it knock, some new symptom rears its ugly head. Today it was fever and chills. Yesterday it was a cough. The day before that was made memorable by a runny nose. It’s like I’m hitting every single steam table at the Cold Symptom Buffet and coming back from another portion.

I am away from the farm right now, which makes me sad in general but I am extra-especially sad now because there is a freezer chocked full of my homemade chicken soup there. I am a big believer in spending a half day in the fall making a gallon of so of chicken soup and freezing it small, sick-person serving sizes. Because, when you are sick, the last thing you want to do it make chicken soup from scratch.

By stocking the freezer with soup, I am doing myself (and everyone who has to listen to me complain) a giant favor. The Sick Me thanks the Think-Ahead, Whiz-Bang Chicken Soup Maker Me for being so gosh darn thoughtful.

The trouble is, this time Whiz-Bang Chicken Soup Maker Me got the location wrong.

Since  I do not want this terrible fate to befall Future Sick You, I am re-posting my recipe for The Best Chicken Soup in the Universe today. In addition to it’s restorative powers, this soup is madly delicious.

Sick You will thank me later.

This soup is also dead easy to make and doesn’t ever require homemade chicken stock to be sublime, although homemade stock would make it even…um…sublimer. I didn’t have time for it to thaw. I used boxed stock. So sue me!

First make a mirepoix. Mirepoix is two parts diced onions, one part diced carrots, one part diced celery. I used two medium yellow onions, four carrots and four celery stalks.

Gently sautee’ your mirepoix in your largest dutch oven or soup pot. Cook over medium-low heat until they are softened by not mushy.

When the mirepoix is softened, add the leaves from three or four sprigs of thyme, the chopped leaves of one rosemary stalk and lots and lots of garlic. I usually mince an entire head of garlic for this soup but I didn’t have time for all that fiddly chopping this time, so I used an entire tube of concentrated garlic paste. You can used jarred minced garlic, although I think it is a poor substitute for the real deal. Garlic, rosemary and thyme all have medical properties, which is why they are the flavor stars of this soup.

Since we want to make enough soup to portion and freeze, we’re going big! Add three 48 ounces boxes of low sodium chicken stock to your pot and raise the heat to medium high.

You can either roast a chicken on your own or buy rotisserie chicken at the market. If you go the rotisserie route, be sure to get an unflavored chicken, i.e. not bar-b-que or lemon flavored.

Shred the the entire chicken with your hands, discarding the skin this will seem like a lot of chicken but that’s kind of the idea. I like my chicken soup packed. Add the chicken to your soup pot.

Okay, here’s secret ingredient number one. Have you ever wondered why restaurant chicken soup is so much better than yours? Here’s why. In restaurant parlance, it’s called chicken base and now you can get it at the supermarket. Stir a HEAPING tablespoon of chicken base to your soup pat. [I actually great prefer More Than Gourmet Classic Roasted Chicken Stock to Better than Bouillon but my grocery store doesn't carry it. I stock up when I'm in Charlottesville or Baltimore but Better than Bouillon is a perfectly good substitute. What isn't a good substitute is bouillon cubes! Don't be tempted to toss a couple of those in- too salty and too weird tasting. If you find Glace de Poulet, stir into the soup exactly the way I did here, ignoring the package directions.]

Let your soup simmer until thoroughly heated, 20 minutes or so.

Secret number two to the best chicken soup is to cook the noodles in a separate pot of water only when you are ready to serve. Yes, it’s another pot to watch but trust me, it’s entirely worth it. Most chicken soup suffers from mushy, over-cooked noodles and it is entirely unnecessary. The other benefit of cooking the noodles separately is that you aren’t limiting yourself to only noodle soup. Sometimes I like to add wild rice to this soup, or even couscous. In this case, I used super-wide egg noodles.

When you’re ready to eat, simply add your noodles to the bowl and then ladle in the soup.

Reward yourself for all that work with a bowl for lunch.

Tuck the rest away in portion-sized containers for a day when you are too under the weather to feed yourself.

{ 12 comments }

1 camelama November 11, 2012 at 1:28 am

Curse you – I’m reading this at 10:30PM Saturday evening, in my jammies, and now my brain and tastebuds are yellling GO GROCERY SHOPPING AND MAKE THIS!

:)

Envious of those noodles, too. I can’t find good THICK THICK wide soup noodles here in Seattle. If any Michiganders are out there, I’m remembering the fantastic noodles in Bill Knapp’s restaurant chicken noodle soup. I want those! Nowhere to be found.

2 Susan November 11, 2012 at 11:19 am

Camelama, I the thick noodles are sold under an Amish brand. I can’t remember the exact brand I buy but they are similar to these http://www.amazon.com/Amish-Kitchen-Noodles-Extra-12-Ounce/dp/B009T4OVYO/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1352650692&sr=8-14&keywords=amish+noodles .

3 Mike November 11, 2012 at 2:33 am

in the Universe???? Are you sure???? Are you aware that Scientists recently discovered another “earth-like” planet only 42 light years away (I hear that their chicken soup is excellent as well) :)

4 Kathleen Bond November 11, 2012 at 7:42 am

Ooooo! That soup looks good!

Are you sure it is a cold you are fighting?? Cold virus usually runs 3 to 5 days, after that it might be something else (especially if you have a fever). See a doctor if this keeps up.

Take care.

5 Louise November 11, 2012 at 8:20 am

Thank you! Heal please ! Just order all of your little “thinking we are going to give Susan a cold” cells to toughen up and be well! Sending you healing and energy. Good luck with photo shoot! Now into kitchen to make this!

6 lisa smillie November 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Thank you, thank you for re-posting and tweeting this. I remembered it the other day and have been meaning to look it up. Today I will make this soup. I like to add fresh ginger and chili sometimes right before serving.

7 Fran November 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Sick AND away from the Farm, so very sorry to hear. Hope you are with someone who loves you enought to make this for you right.this.moment!! And a quick shout out to all the veterans out there, Happy Veteran’s Day and thank you for your service.

8 Lauria November 11, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Sus, this makes me homesick. Farmsick!

9 Lauria November 11, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Mike, I dubbed it the best in the universe. Susie only had said it was the best in the world, but one spoonful and I declared it was the best in the universe. I defy any potential lifeforms out there to make better!

10 Jellenp November 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Oh wow, this may be the first thing I make in the renovated kitchen….

11 Angela November 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Sounds yummy! Just one suggestion: Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock is EVER SO MUCH BETTER than Swanson’s (and even more better than College Inn). And yes I have tried all of them.

12 Homemade Soups November 21, 2012 at 12:44 am

wow it’s looks yummy!!!

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