This is my first post in a long time and it isn’t very literary. Instead, I want to share a recipe I threw together last night. Chicken soup is very comforting to the body and mind, but sometimes the same old standard of rice and basic aromatics feels a little stale. Yesterday I decided to spice things up a bit.
Improvised Chicken Soup Variation
Rotisserie Chicken (I bought this a couple days ahead and ate some of the breast and one thigh.)
1 large yellow onion
3 Anaheim chilies
3 Serrano chilies (I ended up using two)
Thin rice stick noodles
There are two phases for making this soup.
Phase I: Make broth, prep soup ingredients.
1. Tear off as much of the chicken flesh as you can and put in a separate bowl. It’s okay if there is some meat still on the bones here and there, it will enrich the broth. If you like more fat, keep in the skin. If you want less fat, put in less of the skin.
Put the flesh back in the fridge, throw the carcass in a large stock pot.
2. Separate the stalks of celery. Set aside a few stalks for the soup. Take the inner leaves and put them in the stock pot. Cut another stalk in half and put in stock pot. The young pale yellow stalks make a good snack while you’re cooking.
3. Quarter the onion. Put one quarter in stock put. Set remainder aside for soup.
4. Unwrap 1 or 2 garlic cloves and add to the pot.
5. Cover all with water, add some salt and a bay leaf. Cover with lid.
6. Heat the broth on high till it comes to a boil, then lower heat to simmer steadily for 20-30 minutes. I usually just keep an eye on the color and quality of the water to figure out when to stop. Tasting helps, too.
7. While the broth is cooking, you can prep some of the soup ingredients:
– dice the remaining 3/4 of onion
– chop the celery stalks (1/4 width-wise slices)
– mince 3 garlic cloves
– grate some ginger (about a tbsp?)
– chop 1 anaheim pepper
These can all be tossed into a bowl together.
8. Once you are satisfied the broth is done, strain it into a heat-safe bowl. Throw out the carcass, etc.
Phase II: Make soup
1. Heat olive oil and coconut oil in the bottom of the stockpot.
2. Add the bowl of prepped ingredients (onion, celery, garlic, ginger, chili pepper); salt slightly if you want to sweat them faster.
3. While they are sweating and getting soft and translucent, thinly slice 1 anaheim and 1 serrano into rings.
4. Add the broth back to the pot. Add the sliced peppers. After the soup simmers for a bit, taste for heat preference. If you want more heat add another sliced anaheim. If still need heat, add some minced Serrano. I usually buy extra chilies because the heat intensity is often inconsistent.
5. Add some coriander and salt (if needed) to the pot.
6. Add chicken.
7. Chop up some cilantro.
8. Once you feel the soup is almost done, add some rice stick noodles. When they seem al dente, remove pot from heat. Stir in chopped cilantro. Taste for salt as needed.
9. Serve with some cilantro leaves as garnish.
Enjoy! I think next time I’ll trying adding some minced Serrano to Phase II, Step 2, and some lime juice after the pot is removed from the heat.