I’m not feeling very well this week. Last week I came down with something I’m pretty sure was swine flu, while Sara Kay was busy coming down with a wicked head cold. As usual, we each let our diseases run their course and then traded off to extend the fun. So now I’ve traded in H1N1 for a good old-fashioned rhinovirus.
I spent the morning in my least favorite class of the semester, and then went over to my friend and mentor’s office to work on planning our schedule for the upcoming Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis conference workshop. By the time I was done there my head just about felt like it was going to fall off, and my nose was running, and of course it was a cold and rainy day in Chicago, so I decided I absolutely needed a big pot of homemade chicken soup.
I stopped on the way home for some ingredients, including some nice leeks and a bottle of chardonnay/viogner blend. The wine is crisp, juicy and delicious. I used half of the bottle in the soup, and am working on drinking the rest. As you can see from my pictures, I haven’t got a real stockpot to work with, only our 5 quart pot, so for the time being when I make soup. I can’t really make that much. But then, it’s really only the two of us, so usually a pot full of food this size is plenty to last for a couple of days.
I can presently only smell through about one half of one nostril, but the little bit of aroma that is getting through tells me that the suit should be pretty damn good. A good chicken soup is tricky, because you want just enough spice on the tail end to clear your cloudy nose and warm your tired bones, but not enough to give you the sensation that you are eating spicy food. Also, if there is one thing I’ve learned from these past few months of cooking soups and stews, it’s that you can’t be too stingy with your herbs and spices.
Salt is one of those things that takes a moment to learn but a lifetime to master. It is the very basic seasoning, but for me it’s easy to underestimate the amount I’ll need. For some, it might be tempting to go the other way and use too much right off the bat. I think the best approach is to throw in a goodly amount at the beginning, but not so much that you won’t expect to need to add some extra as you go.
When it comes to cooking, I’ve learned to be short on measurements and long on good taste, so my recipe here will not be exact, it is subject to change with every time I make it in the future, and should be altered depending on what you like to eat. But in my opinion, if you follow this recipe you will end up with a highly delicious and extremely low carbohydrate homemade chicken soup.
- Chicken. I’ll bet you didn’t think you were going to get away with making a chicken free chicken soup. For my 5 quart pot, I used about a pound and a half or 2 pounds of chicken. I like to keep things nice and protein rich. I started out by heating a little olive oil in the bottom of my pot, and lightly brown in my chicken while I seasoned it with a tablespoon and a half or so of kosher salt, maybe a half a tablespoon of fresh ground pepper, and two or three nice dashes of Tabasco.
- Once the chicken was looking nice and cooked but not cooked through, I poured in about half of the bottle of nice white wine and allowed it to come to a boil.
- Next I tossed him a big bowl of chopped vegetables. This included four medium-sized carrots, for a nice sized stalks of celery, two stalks of leeks, and six small turnips, diced. I like to use turnips in my soups and stews, because when they are slow cooked, they offer a really nice texture and mild flavor. I find that when you dice them up into nice small cubes, they completely satisfy any desire you may have for potato, rice, or pasta like substances in your soup. All this while being very low carb and a great source of minerals.
- Once the veggies were in, I filled the rest of the pot with a full carton of free range chicken broth, and a little bit of filtered water.
- Next for the herbs and spices, I added a tablespoon or two of dried herbs de provence, probably about a teaspoon of coriander, maybe a half teaspoon of ground thyme, and about a half a tablespoon of smoked paprika. This last ingredient offers a wonderful warmth and depth.
I let this wonderful concoction brew for an hour or so and then went back for a taste. At this time I added about another tablespoon and a half of the kosher salt, as well as a small handful of chopped fresh parsley. And, because I love the taste of good sea salt, I made sure to throw in a healthy pinch of Malden salt.
That’s the whole recipe, as simple as could be. I made a very similar soup just a week ago, when I had the swine flu, and it turned out hearty and satisfying. I feel confident that this next pot will be an equally potent dose of Godotian penicillin, and a delicious one at that. Also, this pot of soup probably holds about eight servings, and I would estimate that each of those servings contains only about 4 to 8 g of carbohydrate.