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Fear Conquered: The Red and White Can
When I think of chicken soup, I think of a red and white can of Campbell's. Not because of the flavor or the texture or the aroma. And not because Campbell’s makes the best chicken soup. I think of that red and white can because it reminds me of a moment from my childhood when a favorite babysitter opened up just such a can, added water and heated for 3 minutes in the microwave. That was my first encounter with chicken noodle soup - and I honestly don’t remember if I liked it. But it’s a happy memory always stirred by this soup.
Chicken soup is all about those happy moments. It's not a soup I make when I'm sick (although last week I did make the soup and I was sick, but that was pure coincidence). It's a soup for happy moments. Soup for when I want to share happiness with someone else. Soup to reawaken those forgotten memories.
The great thing about chicken soup is there’s no one right way to make it - except to include chicken and broth. Some people like to add milk or cream to their broth, other's toss in tortillas and corn, others add beans and hot sauce. Some like to add pasta. Some like it chunky, others little more than a broth. But besides the can of Campbell's, there is no one quintessential chicken soup.
So this is my simple take. I like lots of broth, a little spice and rustic chunks of chicken and veggies. Sometimes I add pasta, sometimes I forget. It doesn’t matter - it’s delicious either way. And it’s always my ticket to another happy moment.
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|Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.|
|Add diced yellow onion.|
|Add diced carrots.|
|Add diced celery.|
|Saute the vegetables for 8 minutes.|
|Mince 3 garlic cloves.|
|Mince a handful of celery leaves and flat-leaf parsley.|
|Mince a small handful of fresh dill.|
|Add the garlic, celery leaves, parsley and dill to the pot and saute for another 5 minutes.|
|Add 1/2 cup of white wine to the pot and reduce until most of the wine has been absorbed.|
|Add 6 cups of homemade chicken stock and 4 cups of purified water.|
|Cube 6 crusty baguette slices and add to the soup. If you do not have a baguette, cube 2 slices of bread and spread out on a baking sheet; toast the bread in the oven for 5 minutes, then add to the soup.|
|Add the spices and stir to combine.|
|Bring the soup to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.|
|Add 1 pound of shredded roasted chicken - I prefer dark meat for this soup.|
|Stir the shredded chicken into the soup. Simmer the soup for another hour.|
|Add the optional pasta 8 minutes before serving.|
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Homemade Chicken Soup
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min
Ingredients (makes 4 quarts)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large yellow onions, diced
- 4 medium carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 handful celery leaves, minced
- 1 handful flat-leaf parsley, minced
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh dill
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 4 cups purified water
- 6 cups homemade chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
- 6 crusty baguette slices, cubed
- 1 pound roasted chicken, shredded
- 2 cups dry egg noodles (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat; add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté for 8 minutes
- Add the garlic, celery leaves, parsley and dill and sauté for another 5 minutes
- Add the wine and reduce until most of the wine has evaporated, then add the water, chicken stock, spices and baguette cubes. Bring the soup to the boil, then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes
- Add the shredded chicken and let the soup simmer uncovered for another hour, stirring occasionally. Add the optional pasta 8 minutes before serving
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Hungry for Tips?
- Spice: Depending on your chicken stock, you may need to adjust other seasonings. The spiciness of the soup will increase as the soup simmers, so don't go too crazy on the cumin or pepper until allowing the soup to cook for at least 30 minutes.
- Water: Do not swap out the water for more chicken stock. As the soup reduces, extra stock will make the soup greasy and overpower the other vegetable flavors.
- Baguette: If you don't have a crusty baguette lying about, cube a few slices of homemade bread and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. I find a little bread thickens the soup just right.
- White or Dark: I prefer dark-meat chicken in this soup for moistness and flavor, but you can always use roasted chicken breast instead.
- Pasta: If you don't have egg noodles, you can use any pasta you like such as broken spaghetti, linguini or even macaroni. I just prefer the shape and texture of egg noodles for this soup.
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