Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October Chicken Soup and Stock

One autumn in Portland, I discovered a magic place.  I was taking a tax preparation class and needed a good place to study, and happened upon a little deli/restaurant downtown that played soft jazz music, had beautiful wooden tables, and made the best soup.  I never got around to trying the sandwiches, they looked great but I couldn't bear to trade the soup for anything else.  The combination of squash, cabbage, and turmeric stayed in my mind and I am pleased with my best duplication of it.  This brings to mind the dark stormy afternoons of bright wet yellow leaves, and of running in the rain with my books under my bright red raincoat, with the pleasing soft jingle of the bell on the door and reading the entire chalkboard menu before ordering my favorite soup. 

October Chicken Zucchini Soup
I am still enjoying the bounty of October vegetables and being sick this weekend (again! ugh!) was a perfect time for chicken soup. Using a pre-cooked game hen from the grocery store not only saves a ton of time, it makes a pot of chicken stock for future use.  If you make anything with veggies at other times, save the discards (peels, ends, etc) in a zip-lock bag in the freezer and throw them into the stock pot.  The more veggies, the better!  Onion peels are my favorite because they give the broth that nice brown color. 

October Chicken Soup

*NOTE: Save all of the cuttings from the veggies for making stock!
1 Pre-cooked cornish game hen
4 cups chicken broth
1-2 yellow crookneck squash and/or zucchini, cut in half-slices
5 small white potatoes, cut to bite-size
3 handfuls of baby carrots, cut to bite-size (in thirds is a good size)
3 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves, washed
1 round slice of cabbage, broken into large bite-size pieces
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt & pepper to taste
Additional water to cover ingredients

Strip the meat off the chicken bones and break or cut meat into bite-sized pieces.  Add meat, broth, all veggies, and bay leaf to large soup pot.  Add enough water to cover the ingredients and stir carefully.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until all veggies are cooked.  Add turmeric and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a big chunk of crusty bread. 

Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock

1 poultry carcass, all good meat removed (obviously leave this out to make vegetable stock)
Veggie discards: This includes onion peel, garlic peel, ends of zucchini or carrots, stems from broccoli or kale, etc.  The more the merrier, this is all flavor! 
Enough water to cover everything, and as much as you want to make into broth
** Ingredient note: Don't use potatoes.

Put everything into a large soup pot and cook on low to medium for several hours.  Do not add seasoning other than what may have been on the poultry skin.  Refrigerate or freeze until needed.
This can be used to make future chicken soup or anything else that calls for chicken stock - pumpkin soup, pot pies, risotto, etc.

(Photo by me)

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