October 26, 2013 4 Comments
The weather’s getting colder. The sky’s getting darker earlier with each passing day. There’s a certain nip in the air that just makes it feel like fall…
…or winter, in my humble opinion.
For some reason, last year was the first year I really felt winter’s chill. I’ve always been a warm-blooded girl, but my freshman year, I walked around high school from November to March in my puffy orange jacket , a hat, and sometimes gloves because I was so. COLD. Last Tuesday was the first day I had to wear my jacket in class, and it was a sad, sad day. Goodbye warm weather…well, at least until I head south in a couple months.
While I don’t particularly like the cold, I do love cold-weather food. Soups, stews, braises, roasts? Sign me up! I love hanging out in my kitchen, the warmest room in the house, and breathing in the aroma of pot roast or coq au vin. I love all of the root vegetables–beets, sweet potatoes, squashes, parsnips, celery root–and the spices–cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice–and use them as much as I can in my cooking. To me, they’re like best friends that you don’t see all summer: they embrace you with a warm hug and just make you feel safe and comfortable. Mmm. That’s my kind of food: so soothing and gently flavorful, you can taste the love.
I’m here today with my first of many comfort food recipes: the BEST chicken soup I have ever made. It’s one of my favorite dishes EVER, and I would be happy to eat chicken soup every single day if you asked. And, since it’s a soup, I’m filled up with warm fullness from my first to my last sip (or bite). I like eating (or is it drinking?) soup with a small spoon so the wonderful feeling will last as long as possible. You too can enjoy this delicious awesomeness–it’s easy, doesn’t have too many ingredients, and won’t take you forever to make!
Want a print-out version of this recipe? Click here!
The first thing you’re going to need is a 3-4 pound whole chicken, cut up into 8 pieces. Want to know how to do it? Watch my video–the first one I’ve ever filmed for Yes to Yummy! I’ll warn you: I’m wearing my pink polar bear PJ bottoms and look at the camera a little funny, but it’s me in my purest, rawest (no pun intended) form. Plus, the background song is the Chicken Dance…and who doesn’t love the Chicken Dance?!
If you’re lazy or don’t have the time, use either a combination of chicken legs and breasts or all chicken legs. I wouldn’t recommend using all white meat: it dries out and is too chewy to pair nicely with the soup.
Once your chicken is cut up (or out of its package), toss it in 1/2 cup of arrowroot powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Make sure each and every piece of chicken is well-coated!
In a dutch oven or just a big pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter (or ghee) with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the butter is completely melted, add in half of the chicken pieces (I put in 1 drumstick, 1 thigh, 1 breast half, and 1 wing) and let cook until completely browned on that side, about 5 minutes. Once darkened and crispy, flip it over to the other side and brown for another 5 minutes. Transfer the pieces to a plate and do the same with the other half of the chicken pieces.
Your chicken will look marvelous, but don’t do anything to it yet! It’s still not completely cooked through.
To the remaining fat, add 1 large onion, chopped, 3 medium carrots, chopped, and 3 celery stalks, chopped. Saute with a pinch of salt until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric and poultry seasoning, then add in 1 cup of apple cider and 6 cups of chicken broth.
A word about chicken broth: I do not recommend that you use store-bought. Honestly, there isn’t much chicken in there: it’s mostly salt and powdered vegetables, which don’t really contribute much flavor, do they? Making your own is easy: just boil the backbone of a chicken or a chicken carcass with some odd vegetables (onion peels, carrot bottoms, old celery stalks) for a few hours and strain.
Bring the liquid and veggies to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and add the chicken back into the pot. Cover it with a lid and cook for another 25 minutes.
When the 25 minutes have elapsed, remove the chicken from the pot and shred it up into little pieces. Discard the bones, or use them to make chicken broth for next time.
Add the chicken back to the pot and stir to combine. If you want a decadent, slightly creamy base, add in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Stir just to combine, then let cook over low heat for at least another 10 minutes or until ready to serve.
I got my heavy cream in a glass bottle from grass-fed cows, so it has the health benefits that regular store-bought heavy cream doesn’t have. While this heavy cream is absolutely amazing, dairy isn’t for everyone (and neither is its high price tag for the good stuff!), so you can leave it out and still have a tasty soup.
Spoon this liquid of the gods into big bowls and sip down. Watch as your worries melt away into taste-bud explosive ecstasy…
Now THIS is what Yes to Yummy is all about.
What’s your favorite fall or winter soup? Leave me a comment HERE (yay!) or on Facebook and let me know!