-Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food-
Hello and welcome to my long overdue, highly anticipated Blog …(insert sarcasm here); which I should have done many moons ago, but due to the circumstances felt around the world, there is no time more than the present to be just that: PRESENT. How our daily routines were just four weeks ago have drastically changed and for most, especially myself; I try to find the silver lining through the narrow looking glass of reality. This blog shall be my present to you all. I truly hope to not only encourage you with the knowledge I have acquired over the years in the kitchen, but I will also lend a stylist’s perspective when it comes to beauty products, fashion trends and when we reset and recharge back to a new normal, I will be critiquing my favorite dishes from my go to restaurant spots in Paris, France where I reside. Okay, so on that point, let’s just talk food for now.
Raise your hands if you grew up on Chicken Soup, or in my house it was called Polish Penicillin? Yes, as a kid, my mom convinced me that this liquid sultry goodness in a bowl was magical and would heal any infection; even when I faked sick, this stuff was pretty amazing. So basically I am going to give you the breakdown of my version of Chicken Soup. It’s not as hard as it seems and you probably have most of the ingredients I am going to detail for you already in your refrigerator. Now there is the easy peasy to this recipe and the harder more time consuming way. I am going to gift you with the more time consuming way because at this point I hope we are a little more patient and let’s face it, we ALL have plenty of time lately. Wait, what day is it?
Okay, now for the fun part; let’s get started!
The anti-inflammatory, head cold slaying ingredients are as followed:
|Prep Time||20 min|
- 1 whole chicken
- 2 large vidalia onions
- 1 large red onion
- 5 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed
- 5 large carrots
- 4 celery stalks
- 1 medium size ginger
- 1 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 sprigs of fresh sage
- 1 large bunch of fresh parsley
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper (crushed and whole)
- In a deep pot or dutch oven, place chicken pieces, one yellow and red onion cut into quarters, garlic, 3 carrots, 2 celery stalks, the peeled ginger, all of your fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Basically everything but the kitchen sink can go into your pot, which makes this soup so much fun to make. Cover all your essential ingredients in water, roughly 4 cups and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Slow is key when it comes to water temperature because you do not want to burn the contents.
- As your soup is slowly making the house smell good and that cozy feeling kicks in, this is when you want to chop up your other ingredents that will go into your soup. You will want to cut into 1/4 inch pieces your carrots, celery (especially the leaves), thinly sliced onion and your parsley. I personally prefer the curly parsley, but Italian is fine too! After everything is chopped, set aside for now.
- Once your pot has come to a nice rolling boil and the chicken is starting to fall off the bone, you will want to take out your chicken pieces and set aside on a rack; just to stop the cooking process as it will continue to become more tender as it goes back in later. At this point, it’s okay to taste your stock. Elevate with some salt if necessary, some cracked pepper. Tasting is crucial because if it doesn’t taste good to you, than it certainly won’t for your family.
- So now that your stock has gotten the green light for flavor, you will want to drain all of your boiled ingredients into a colandar. Keep the boiled carrots and onions for maybe a curry puree later in the week. If there is one thing I have learned in this industry is that you reuse everything as much as you can. Plus it enables you to be creative and transform an ingredient into something completely different. Pretend you’re on Chopped, but in your own kitchen!
- It’s soup time! Once you have poured your stock back into your pot, you will begin to see the fat rise to the surface. Again on a slow medium heat, gently skim the fatty bits and oil with a large spoon and discard. Sometimes my chicken tends to be super fatty, so I take a clean paper towel and just lightly skim the surface until it’s mostly clear. You will want to see some oil and that’s okay. It’s just more flavor.
- Next, you will add in your chopped veggies to the pot and bring to a slow boil. Carrots are always my go-to cooking indicator for everything. Once they are tender, meaning you can run a knive through them with ease, then you know it’s ready. This is when you will want to put your chicken back in. After it’s been cooled and you remove the skin, you can shred or pull nice big chunks and place them gently in the soup. I like chunky because it just looks so pretty in the bowl.
- Plating and presentation are key and this is when you can be super creative and remind your family and guests how much love went into your creation. I love a good white bowl for my soup so all the main characters in the dish shine. But whatever bowl you have on hand is fine. Just pour a nice amount into the bowl, making sure you have proper ratios of chicken to veggies and finish off with some chopped fresh curly parsley and for an even more intense flavor, sprinkle some fresh ground Parmesan cheese. I usually like a fresh baguette ripped into chunks on the side with a little olive oil, Parm cheese and S&P mixture for dipping. It’s the French in me. Bread is everywhere here, I cannot deny it any longer.
The key to flavor in food is time. Time and love. Love for cooking. That’s my mantra. Did you ever notice your lasagna you made always tastes better the next day? It’s a valid food phenom that holds true, especially with soup. Slow cooking broth not only opens and releases the anti-inflammatory agents in the marrow from chicken bones, but it releases so many disease fighting properties from the onions, garlic, ginger and carrots as well. Talk about a superhero in liquid form. If your kids knew how much vitamin C there is in an onion, they would think you were bluffing. This is why when we feel run down, because our immune system is fighting infection, we tend to crave the basic essential ingredients which make Chicken Soup so incredibly crucial for our well being, especially now more than ever.
So this recipe is my present to you, for your family and loved ones. The ingredients are fairly inexpensive and batches can be frozen for a rainy day. But for now, I give you sunshine with this recipe. I give you hope in every hearty sip you take. Let it calm your mind and as always, feed your soul.
Take care of you and Bon Appetit.