Friday, December 13, 2013

Chicken Soup

We have had an unrealistic amount of colds this year. I don't know if there's some super cold bug floating around determine to attack us at every term, the mould issue we've been fighting in the house, or the fact that we swim in a heavily chlorinated pool, all I know is I'm so over colds! There's been a lot of chicken soup on our menu because of it too. Nothing quite says "feel good" like a hot bowl of chicken soup on a scratchy throat & a stuffed up nose. Not that I recommend shoving soup up your nose, of course.

I have two versions of chicken soup that I make. One is called Cheaters Chicken Soup & the other is totally from scratch. They only differ slightly. In Cheater's soup you pick up a roasted deli chicken to use, but in the From Scratch version you just use a whole raw chicken. I'm not utterly convinced the deli chickens are safe for me anymore {wheat & dairy}, so the version we made this week when Jayden started getting snuffly was From Scratch. I make mine in an electric pressure cooker Mr S gave me a year or two ago for Christmas. It's amazing. I love it. The man & the pressure cooker. Seriously. The Pressure cooker can do so much, like make this soup in 30-60 minutes. Truth!

From Scratch Chicken Soup

1 Whole Chicken
4 Garlic Cloves
Bay leaves
2-4 Carrots
2 Onions
Various veggies

My chickens come in a plastic bag I just cut the bag open, rinse the chicken off if I need to {all though there are claims that rinsing chicken before cooking raises the risk of food poisoning} & drop the whole thing right into the cooking pot of my pressure cooker. I peel the onions & chop them up to throw in, I chop the carrots {don't peel them} & chuck them in, I throw in the garlic {peel it}, I sprinkle in a teaspoon or 3 of basil, toss in 2-4 bay leaves & a lovely dash of ground black pepper. 

Then I turn my electric kettle on & boil up 8 cups of water. I put that in there as well. I know it's 8 cups because that's the max fill line. Ha! Slap the lid on our pressure cooker, make sure it's set to high pressure & the pressure valve is in the right direction. I turn it on for 60 minutes. You can use water straight from the tap if you want as well, but cold water will take longer for your machine to come to pressure then boiled water.

When it beeps to signify it's done you can either let the steam off naturally or use the release switch. It depends on how close it is to dinner time as to which way I go. Either way, let off the steam & remove the lid. I put a giant colander in a larger bowl & plop the chicken in then pour the broth in as well to strain it. Pour the strained broth back in your pot. Smash the now cooked garlic & throw the back in. You can throw the onions back in if you want. I have a child who will pick them out if he sees them utterly convinced they will be too spicy. You could also just throw the broth {veggies & all} in your blender. I've done that many times too.

If you're going to use potatoes, I did in the pot above because we had some that needed using, turn your pressure cooker over to saute for about 10-12 minutes. While it comes to a boil peel & chop your potato, I go for smaller bite sized pieces because they cook quicker & you can get more then just potato in a bite. I also peeled 3 more small carrots & chopped them up into small bits. Added it all to the pot & let it do it's thing. I had Mr S stir it every now & again while he was chatting to me so I could remove all the meat from the chicken & chop it up into bite sized bits. 

Once the potatoes & carrots are done, I add the chicken back to the pot along with whatever veggies I have on hand to add that day. In the picture above I have 1.5 cups of chopped frozen green beans, 1/2 tin of corn, 3 potatoes, 3 small carrots, 2 cups of frozen peas. Add a teaspoon or so of salt & I also add a few heaped tablespoons of Chicken Stock Powder. I added a few shakes of onion powder because I was out of chives which I add sometimes. The green specks in the soup were basil. I turn it back on to Saute for 3-5 minutes so the frozen veggies can heat up.

Notes: I don't add rice usually or pasta. Gluten free pasta can get funny after it sits in a pot of soup for too long. Cooked rice can be added when you add the other veggies. If you're adding raw rice or pasta add it with the carrot & potato. You can even cook them on a high pressure for 5-8 minutes, but I find it's just as easy to switch my machine to saute while I debone the chicken & get things ready to go.

Cheater Chicken Soup: When I make the cheaters version I debone the deli chicken & throw all the skin & bones into a nut bag or tied up cheese cloth. Drop it in the cooking portion of the pressure cooker, add the water, onion, garlic, spices, etc. Turn the machine to high & cook for 20-30 minutes. While it's cooking get everything else ready. You can even cook the carrots & potatoes on the stove top of microwave if you're in a real hurry. When it goes strain it, because I promise people will complain if they get a big ol' bay leaf in their bowl & you tell them they won & the prize is washing the dishes. If you need to cook the carrots & potatoes start from there, otherwise just move on to adding the chicken, stock powder, salt, & frozen veggie. You can actually buy frozen veggies for soup complete with chopped potato & onion, but I don't normally buy them because they have corn in them. I know, I know, in the photo above I added corn but it's a rare occurrence in our home. Some of us can't handle corn very well so it makes a rare appearance in our soups.


Catherine said...

That soup sounds delish, Kendra. I hadn't heard that about rising chicken before. Oops, I often rinse whole chickens...

Kendra said...

I don't know if it's spot on, but it was mentioned recently in an article in the Aussie Reader's Digest. I don't rinse chicken too often, but when they have a lot of defrosted "juices" on them I do. Blah!