Monday, February 28, 2011

Chicken Soup

I am certain all of us know that chicken soup absolutely does have some therapeutic merit, and for many it is the "go-to" meal when fighting a cold or cough. I can honestly say that since having children I probably make this favorite thing of mine, my husbands and theirs rain or shine, cold or cough, day or night.

For me the soup is so much more then a cold remedy. Chicken soup takes me to a place of comfort, makes me think of my grandmother whom I adore and basically relaxes me, and all those whom I make it for.

Over the years I have perfected my version of this warm soothing and very easy to make comfort food, and my husband has called me "the queen of chicken soup" several times. This is a very big compliment and honor but I highly doubt I am the queen. Princess maybe, but definitely not a queen. I'd like to leave all chicken soup related praise to grandmothers through out the world.

I am making some now since my four year old has a cough, and although I am sad that she's coughing the smell of the soup seems to be lifting all our spirits. The pleasant aroma has now filled my entire kitchen and living room and I cannot wait until my husband comes home and smells it. His face will light up since its the perfect meal at the end of a long day.

So chicken soup. Sounds simple right? What could be so special about it. Well for me there are several things that need to be perfect with the chicken soup I eat or make. The broth needs to be clear and perfectly golden, the chicken (preferably 2 breasts bone in, 1 leg and 2 wings-this makes the best broth EVER) needs to be cooked through, juicy, and falling off the bones. The onion must be pulled out before serving, and lastly tons of fresh dill is a must when the soup has finished cooking. Also, I leave the cooked celery for my hubby who loves to eat that part of the soup as well. I think if he could he'd eat the plate and spoon too. Personally cannot skip the dill and have converted many over the years to eat their soup with this eastern European twist as well.

Sounds simple yes? But the simplicity is what makes it so delicious. The clear broth is so full of unpretentious yet complex flavors layered with memories of comfort and ease. The juiciness of the chicken, sweetness of the carrots combined with the mild tanginess of the dill is simply perfect. Smelling it now and can't wait to eat it and see my kids relax as they eat it as well. Or could it just be that they've had a long day and are now sleepy and tired? NEH, I think its the soup.

My Soup
Alina's chicken soup-"BULLION" as Russians call it ;)
2 chicken breasts, bone-in, 1 large chicken leg with thigh attached, 2 chicken wings, 1 large onion with lightest brown layer of skin left on, 2-3 large whole carrots, 3 celery stalks with leaves attached cut to fit into pot, kosher salt, fresh dill roughly chopped, LOVE

In a large pot cover the chicken pieces, onion, carrots, celery with ice cold water to the top.
Bring to a boil, skim off any impurities that rise to the top.Drop the heat to a simmer with lid partially open, salt to taste. Leave at a very low, slow, simmer for a minimum of 2 hrs, longer if possible until the meat is so tender its falling off the bones when touched with a fork. Pull out the onion and add lot's of fresh dill. Enjoy!

Dill is a must!

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