Thursday, October 28, 2010

Go-To Meal: Homemade Chicken Soup (with or without Dumplings)

When we all got sick, this was the obvious choice for dinner.  The soup simmers all day, ready for dinner that night.  This is perfect when you don't mind if the stove heats up your house.  Plus, if you simmer a pastured chicken all day, the resulting broth is full of nutrients from all the minerals in the bones and organs.

Even in Arizona, we have had a few days where we can simmer soup all day.  This is my tried and true recipe that I have been making for a few years now.

Homemade Chicken Soup
1 whole pastured chicken including neck and giblets, preferably with head and feet still attached (I can't find heads and feet for a good price around here, so I omit)
2 onions, large diced
5 carrots, peeled and sliced into thick rounds
5 ribs celery, including leaves, sliced
2-3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1-2 bay leaves
1 bunch parsley, finely minced
sea salt and pepper

For the Dumplings/Noodles:
sprouted whole grain flour
1 pastured egg
olive oil or Mary's Oil Blend
garlic powder
onion powder
sea salt and pepper

1.  Remove bag of giblets from the cavity of the chicken.  Rinse chicken in cold water and then place into a large stockpot or large Dutch oven.  Add giblets to the pot carefully.  Add head and feet if you have them and they are separate from the chicken body.  Add onions, carrots, and celery.  Cover chicken and vegetables with cold filtered water, leaving at least an inch below the top of the pot.  Add apple cider vinegar and let stand at room temperature for one hour.  (The vinegar draws the minerals out of the bones of the chicken.)

2.  Turn on burner under the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to keep soup at a simmer.  Add bay leaves and salt and pepper.  Let simmer all day long, preferably 8 hours or more.  (Try and start the pot very early in the morning to time it right).

3.  About an hour before you want to serve the soup, remove chicken from the pot, along with giblets and head and feet.  Discard the feet and head and giblets.  Remove chicken meat from the bones and discard the bones.  Cut chicken meat into cubes, or shred with a fork and then return to the pot.  Add half of the minced parsley to the pot, cover and keep simmering while you make the dumplings/noodles.

4.  Make dumplings/noodles.  Combine one cup of flour and the egg in a small bowl.  Add a few tablespoons of oil and mix with a spoon until a dough forms.  Add seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  For a simple version of the soup, use a small ice cream scoop to drop spoonfuls of dough into the simmering soup to make dumplings.  For a fancier version, or if you like the shape of flat noodles, roll out the dough and cut into small strips with a knife or pizza cutter to make noodles.  Drop into the soup a few at a time to keep them from sticking together.

5.  The dumplings/noodles cook up in only a few minutes.  Try one and see if the texture is what you like.  Serve immediately with homemade crackers floating on top, or with buttered sourdough toast.  Either way, use the remaining minced parsley to sprinkle on the soup for a fresh herb flavor.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday by Kelly The Kitchen Kop.

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