This soup is the proven curative for the Common Cold and various other ailments Chez Chuck. In the past, the moment I detected a sniffle from anyone, out came the stock pot. In fact, even as grown-ups, they are now coming to me pre-sniffle with pathetic sick looks. They know that that words aren’t needed – this soup is coming to the rescue!
Keep in mind, this only works if you make a PROPER chicken stock. I cannot guarantee results from packaged products, and besides could you really look yourself in the mirror if you didn’t make a proper stock when hit full-on with the pathetic looks?
It may be worth mentioning that we make this soup often – not just for it’s curative powers, but just because it is so damn good! It doesn’t freeze well for texture reason, but stays very good for an extended period in the fridge. If you bring it back to a very brief boil every few days it is hard to picture an “off” date since no matter how big a batch, it will be eaten long before you have to worry about that!
3-4 cooking onions
handful of fresh peeled garlic and ginger
cooked chicken scraps
2 fresh full chicken legs
2 large packages of portobello mushrooms
Note: Legs are best since they have most flavor. They are also way cheaper per pound of meat than the breast. If all you can get is breast the flavor is fine, but I have to say you are shopping in the wrong place if they don’t carry leg pieces at about half (or less) the price per weight of meat.
Start with the biggest stock pot you own! If you don’t own a large stock pot go purchase the cheapest one you can find – it would be a complete waste of money to spend more than you have to on this item. Essentially, you are just boiling water, and it doesn’t take anything but the cheapest pot to do that. My own, which is likely the second or third most used pot in the kitchen Chez Chuck, is now into its second Quarter Century. And it was purchased for what in today’s dollars is something less than five bucks. Yes, this makes my cheap heart soar! And for stock pots, size counts…..
- Saute 3 or 4 cooking onions, and a good handful of fresh peeled garlic and ginger. Don’t waste time chopping these, just peel them and cut them in halves/quarters. If your stock pot is a bit thin like mine, saute the onions, garlic and ginger quickly in another pan then transfer to the stock pot (remember to deglaze the side pan with water).
- Assemble whatever cooked chicken scraps you have saved for this moment from past meals (nothing heavily flavored though). Remember, even a completely stripped bone from leftovers adds flavor to a future stock, so stop wasting money by throwing this stuff out!
- Next, add the fresh chicken legs. With enough scraps you only need two full legs (or equivalent). If you don’t have scraps, just double the fresh quantity while chastising yourself for the unnecessary coin wasted. Strip most of the skin from the pieces and quickly saute the meat. Yes, you can buy pre-skinned if you don’t mind that, on average, you have paid someone else at a rate of $500/hour to strip the skin for you. For readers with more money than sense, this is the perfect solution!
- Pour lots of water over the sauteed vegetables and chicken – no exact measure needed here simply because if too watery you can boil it down and if too thick you can add water later.
- 10 minutes into simmer time, remove all whole chicken pieces. Set them aside to cool.
- Strip and rough chop the meat, then throw the bones and scraps back in to the stock pot.
- Set aside the meat.
- Simmer the soup for a long time, the longer the better (Chez Chuck is usually 3 hours).
- While you’re waiting, rough chop and saute down lots of mushrooms. I use the equivalent volume of two or three large packages of Portobellos. Use whatever is available – some mix of loose white and loose or packaged portobellos. As an aside I won’t use packaged whites simply because they have no flavor. For some reason packaged portobello mushrooms are fine, but not whites.
- Rough cut a big bunch of green onions.
- 10 minutes before serving, strain the stock into a large soup pan – as much as comfortably fits.
- Reboil, then add any kind of dried pasta, broken into typical soup size into the pot.
- Reduce to simmer until the pasta is cooked.
- Lastly, throw in the chicken meat, mushrooms and green onion and you are ready to eat.
Bread for dunking if you like.
Yummy, nutritious, and a cure all.. does it get any better?