Are y’all bored of me blogging about soup yet? I ask because my sister said she is bored with my posts about my auto-immune disease and my friend Kris has made it clear that she has read enough about my tatas to last a lifetime.
I know I write about soup a lot but there is a good reason for that- it is one of the few things I can eat with my auto-immune disease and it warms up my tatas! [HA! See what I did there?]
Seriously though, I do love soup in the cold months. I could eat it every single night! This week, I seem to be getting a cold and once again, I find myself away from the farm and my freezer full of homemade soups. Sadly there is no chicken soup delivery service in Fort Worth, Texas. As little as I felt like leaving the house, the rule when you have Crohn’s Disease is that if you feel like eating something, you should eat it because the Lord only knows when you will feel like eating anything again. To the grocery store!
I don’t want to be braggy but I have to say that this is far and away the best soup I have ever tasted. It’s a little more work than you may want to do when you have a cold but I strongly encourage you to make a big pot of it when you are healthy and to freeze a bit for future colds. It’s truly extraordinary.
4 heads of garlic, separated but unpeeled
3 sprig of thyme
2 large onions, diced small
4 large carrots, diced small
4 celery ribs, diced small
2 rotisserie chickens
1 sprig of rosemary
2 quarts of chicken stock (preferably homemade from your own hand-raised chickens)
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
salt and red pepper flakes to taste
Preheat the oven to 350. Place the garlic cloves in their peels in a small baking dish and scatter with thyme sprigs. Add 1/4 cup of water. Seal the pan tightly with foil and roast until the garlic is roasted and mushy but not browned, about an hour.
While the garlic is roasting, gently sautee the mirepoix (2 parts onions, 1 part carrots & 1 part celery) in a little bit of safflower oil until they are tender but not browned.
Time to tackle the chickens! Shred the chickens, removing and discarding the skin but reserving the bones.
Tear the chicken into bite-sized pieces and refrigerate until needed.
Pour the chicken stock into a large soup pot. Add the reserved bones from the chicken and the rosemary and bring to a simmer for at least half an hour; an hour is better. Remove the the bones and the rosemary from the stock.
When the garlic is tender, squeeze about half the garlic from the skins, setting the rest aside for now. This is a terrible, sticky job but it’s totally worth it.
Put the roasted garlic into a sautee pan with a little olive oil over low heat. Using the back of a spoon or a potato masher, work the garlic into a paste.
Add the flour and stir, making a roux. This may seem weird but it is going to add body and thickness to our soup. Stir together over heat for at least a minute, and until you have achieved a consistent paste.
Remove 4 cups of hot stock from the stock pot and slowly add the stock to the garlic paste, whisking continuously as you do. When the stock is fully incorporated into the roux, bring to a simmer for two to three minutes, then return the stock/roux mixture to stock pot.
Slip the rest of the garlic cloves from their skins and add them whole to the stock pot.
Add the softened mirepoix, shredded chicken and red pepper flakes to the stock pot and bring the soup to a simmer. Once the flavors have had half an hour or so to blend and mingle, taste the soup and add salt as necessary.
Once the soup is heated through, it’s ready to serve, although this is one of those dishes that improves overnight in the fridge. I served the soup over cooked couscous and it was the perfect compliment. You can try it with noodles, pasta stars or wild rice as well.