The Best Chicken Soup
mmm! mmm! Oh! So! Good!
Coming from an actors point of view, I consider each blog entry as an episode in a long running series or production. Myself, serving as both performer and audience member. Oft the lone. Food blogs are considered the showstoppers. The big, musical number that brings down the house to end Act I, or, the cliffhanger, like, Who shot JR? Cancellation always lurking. You know the old saying? “I was retired from show business for 5 years, but, nobody told me!”
I am, however, keenly aware that some episodes are duds. They may not land the way others do. I remember being at the Conan show doing a sketch and thinking, “the great thing about a job like this (host), is that there’s always tomorrow to try again.” Also a life metaphor. Any motivation to keep the passion going I’m here for it. clip of me doing one of the Conan sketches.
Chicken Soup is Good for the Soul
When I was a kid and I’d get sick, all I wanted was the chicken soup in the red can from the store. You know which one I’m referring to? The one with about 5ooo grams of sodium. A few years ago, I was visiting my relatives in the South, CB hits the South, when I became really ill. I’ve had stomach problems for decades and this was a bad flare up. My Aunt Ossie, who you can see in the video, had some homemade chicken soup that she had frozen. She thawed it out and fed it to me. The best chicken soup I ever tasted. I asked for her recipe and have been remaking it, CB style, ever since.
The Writers Strike
I love soup. Broadly, all kinds of soup. The legendary Seinfeld episode entitled, “The Soup Nazi” was an all-time favorite. (Remind me to one day share with you the story of my disastrous Seinfeld audition). Certainly, that was one of the best written comedy shows I’ve ever seen. For the first time in 15 years, the Writers Guild Association (WGA) are on strike. WGA strike chaos in Hollywood. The last writers strike in 2007 caused an enormous boom in reality television, which doesn’t require writers. Basically, labor stoppages are about a lack of equitable financial distribution between the studios and the workers they outsource. With the internet being so powerful in 2023, the incentive to settle is suspect, at best. Fingers crossed. #standwithwriters
Will AI replace Writers? Actors?
Artificial Intelligence is becoming more and more apart of daily life. Without knowing it, internet chat rooms are filled with AI making it nearly impossible to know if it’s a human or computer-generated. AI is no Shakespeare. Most of the comments I get are spam comments designed to appear as if some person is complimenting my blogs. By and large, they are accompanied by a numerically strange return email and a ton of spelling errors making them easy to distinguish. However, some do cause a second look, meaning the bots are getting better and better. Soon will come the time where it will be impossible to tell. A scary thought. Better make some soup.
Make a big batch, freeze some for later
Unquestionably, this soup has really evolved into a kitchen sink soup. I use whatever I have in the pantry and the refrigerator. While chicken stock is actually pretty good in the stores, I prefer to make my own. Whenever I make a roast chicken, I’ll freeze the carcass and the gizzards in a plastic bag for making stock later. Chicken thighs are flavorful and economical and I dry brine them and cook them low and slow. When they’re cooled, I’ll debone and rough chop them to add to the soup. Moreover, I’m conscious of the sodium, so, I won’t add any extra as the soy sauce and the chicken sufficiently add enough salt.
CB's The Best Chicken Soup
- 1 Dutch oven or Stock pot
- 1 Fine mesh strainer
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 medium sized cooking rack
- serving bowls
For the Stock
- 1 Whole Chicken carcass leftover from Roast Chicken
- Chickens gizzards and neck bones
- 2 carrots, unpeeled and halved
- 1 large onion, unpeeled and quartered
- 1 head of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 1 1-inch chuck of ginger, peeled
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 10 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- t tsp kosher salt
For the chicken
- 4 chicken thighs, bone-in skin on
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
For the Soup
- 1 tbsp butter or CB's garlic herb butter or cooking oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch thick cubes
- 1 Potato, peeled, cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch cubes
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 quarts chicken stock
- 2 tsp porcini powder
- 2 corn tortillas, hand torn to pieces
- 1 10.5oz can cream of chicken soup (298g)
- 1/4 tsp soy sauce
- 2 cups cooked chicken, rough cut into small bites
- 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
For the Chicken
- Season the chicken thighs with the salt, sugar, pepper, garlic and onion powders and the Cajun seasoning. Coat thoroughly. Place thighs on a cooking rack and dry brine in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 1 hour or up to overnight. Bake on the rack with a tray set underneath in the oven at 275F or 135C for 60 to 90 minutes until internal temperature reads 165F or 74C. Carefully remove to a cutting board. Let cool before deboning, discarding the skin and hand shredding the meat. Set aside. Add bones to chicken stock.
For the Chicken Stock
- Place a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat and coat with cooking oil. Add carcass, gizzards, onion, carrots, thyme, garlic, ginger, bouillon cube, parsley, peppercorns and bay leaves. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (3 quarts). Too much water will make the broth taste weak. Allow to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 2 to 3 hours. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface. Add a little more water if necessary to keep carcass, bones and veggies covered while simmering.
- Carefully strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately, or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. The fat will rise to the top. Strain. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.
For the Soup
- Place a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add fat from the stock and CB's garlic herb butter or butter or oil. Add onion, carrots, potatoes, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 5 to 6 minutes until the vegetables are softened, but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add porcini powder, shredded tortillas, cream of chicken and soy sauce. Boil for 5 minutes. fold in the cooked chicken and continue to simmer for 30 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
May is a busy month. Firstly, the day this blog will be published is Cinco de Mayo. Secondly, this weekend, over in the UK will be the Grand Coronation of King Charles. The first in over 70 years. May is also AAPI Heritage month (Asian American Pacific Islander). Last year, my blog Inclusion, highlighted just a few of the numerous members of the AAPI community that have changed the culture. It’s a good read. Mothers Day, graduations, the French Open, prom, as many distractions as one can handle. Indeed, a reminder that, despite the dark clouds of uncertainty that hover like an enormous storm, every day above ground is a good day. Equally important to appreciate, celebrate and be grateful. It’s always better than the alternative. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the soup.
Do you have a favorite soup?