What’s For Dinner? Ginger Chicken Soup


GingerChickenSoup

UPC’s Ginger Chicken Soup

There are a million varieties of chicken soup. That’s an accurate count, too, I think. Actually, if anything, I’m underestimating. There are probably at least 1 million and 1 varieties. At least. In fact, my wife and I end up with a new variety of chicken soup almost every night. Lately, we’ve been cooking up some chicken soup every night, re-using the leftovers from the night before, and adding in a new set of ingredients – some the same, some different. We’ve had some really delicious versions, and some that aren’t really worth getting all excited about. That’s cooking for you!

This Ginger Chicken Soup was one of the more impressive versions that we’ve put together over the past week. The way that the ginger brightened the flavor of the soup was amazing! It brought out all the best flavors of the other vegetables that I used. And the way that ginger works with chicken is like magic! I’m really going to have to use some ginger on some baked chicken now – I’ve done it extensively with stewed meats, chicken included, but now I have got to try it baked!

UPC’s Ginger Chicken Soup:

  • 2 Whole Chicken Legs (skin, bones, everything)
  • 2 inches Ginger, diced
  • 1/2 Jicama Root, chopped (would work with a sweet potato or diakon too; though that would result in a very different flavor)
  • 1 medium Carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium Golden Beet, chopped
  • 1 medium Zucchini, chopped
  • 3 sprigs Basil Leaves
  • 3 sprigs Basil Stalks, diced
  • Spices: Sea Salt, Turmeric, Sage
  • 6 cups Water

Serves: 2-4 (2 with a lot of leftovers)
Cook time: 45 minutes

1. Put the chicken legs and spices in the water and cook on high, covered.

2. While the chicken is heating up, chop the ingredients and add them to the pot. Here is the order that I add ingredients:

  • Ginger first (need the flavor!)
  • Carrots (hardest; needs the most time in the water to soften)
  • Jicama (or Sweet Potato)
  • Golden Beet (Very different flavor profile from red beet – I would use Sweet Potato or Rutabaga instead of Golden Beet if you need to substitute)
  • Diced Basil Stalks (Yes, dice up the stalks of the basil sprigs – these cook quite well, and the flavor is subtle but delicious)
  • Zucchini

3. Let the water boil, still on high heat (use a big pot) for 10 minutes.

4. Take the chicken legs out of the pot and pull them apart, shredding the meat and extracting the bones. Put the chicken back into the pot once it’s been shredded.
Note: I do this step right in the pot, shredding the chicken and extracting the bones all without removing them from the pot. If you’re going to do this, be very careful not to get burned by the steam or splashing.

5. Let the soup continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Now serve and enjoy!

Questions:

  • How much do you enjoy chicken soup?
  • Seriously, how much do you love chicken soup?!?
  • Is chicken soup a year-round comfort food for you, or do you typically start turning to it as the weather turns?
  • What other soups are your fall and winter comfort foods?
  • Are you adventurous with your chicken soups?
  • Are you adventurous with your other soups?
  • What kinds of adventures have worked out well for you?
  • What has failed miserably?

Chicken Soup for the… Just Chicken Vegetable Soup


ChickenVegetableSoup

Just Chicken Vegetable Soup

I hope you enjoyed the post title! I had fun with that. I also had a short story all thought up to go with the title, and I thought it was pretty funny at the time. Unfortunately, all I can remember right now is that I thought up a story and thought it was pretty funny. Sometimes writing does that to me. Sometimes it clears my mind of all other things, and something surprising comes out of my fingers (yes, I write with my fingers, not a pen). Almost like magic. And sometimes I don’t forget the story, and I can relay it back to you all with a humored grin on my face, despite that there’s a pretty good chance that no one else thinks I’m funny…

Just chicken vegetable soup. I really enjoy soup season. Fall, winter, and spring here in NYC is prime soup season for me and my wife. And we always know that soup season has kicked off with aplomb once I’ve made the first chicken soup of the season. It’s almost a “Soup Season Tradition” for us. Perhaps we should call it that.
One of the things that I like the most about Soup Season is the use of spices. I do a lot of steak with nothing but turmeric or pepper. I like the flavor of steak, and only really want to hide that flavor with spices when I’m making something “fancy”. But when it comes to soups, it’s all about the spices! Of course, you don’t just grab a random handful of spice jars and just use them. You carefully, artfully choose the spices you’re going to include in order to maximize your enjoyment, and the specific flavors, of the dish. Today’s key players are: fresh sliced lemongrass, fresh chopped rosemary, and turmeric (sorry, not fresh).

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb Chicken Thigh Meat
  • 2 medium Yellow Squashes, sliced
  • 10 oz Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 medium Carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced Fennel Bulb
  • 1 cup sliced Celery
  • 4-6 tablespoons fresh Rosemary, sliced
  • 4-6 tablespoons sliced fresh Lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoons Turmeric
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Serves: 6-8 (I always make plenty for leftovers)
Cook and Prep time: 60 minutes (I prep the spices and vegetables while the soup cooks)

1. In the soup pot, add the chicken and several cups of water and cook on high, covered.

2. Slice the lemongrass first, and add it to the soup as it is ready, followed by adding the turmeric, then chopping up the rosemary and adding it to the pot.

3. Let the chicken and spices cook for 5-10 minutes, on high heat, before adding anything else to the pot.
Note: This is a good time to prepare the other vegetables.

4. After the chicken has had some time to cook through, add the carrots, fennel, and mushrooms to the soup, as well as refreshing the water. Always make sure that there is more than enough water to fully submerge all of the ingredients (keeping in mind, of course, that the vegetables float…).

5. Allow another 5-10 minutes of cook time, then uncover the pot and using a serving fork and some tongs, fish out the chicken chunks, and shred the chicken back in to the pot, leaving it as shredded as you have the patience to make it. I do this instead of cutting it in to chunks, because I like the texture of the shredded chicken much better than chunks of it.

6. About 15 minutes before meal time add the remaining ingredients to the soup. Again, refresh the water in the soup so that there is plenty of water to cover all of the vegetables.

7. Just before serving, add the salt and pepper, and increase the water of the soup to the point that there’s the right amount of broth to suit your tastes (some people like a lot of broth, some people like less…). And serve and enjoy!

Questions:

  • Do you ever forget something right as you’re about to say it? Or write it?
  • What is your favorite kind of soup?
  • When you do chicken soup, which spices do you use?
  • Do you prefer your chicken soup to be a “slow-cooked” meal, or something you throw together in a quick 30-minute prep session, just before dinner time?
  • What meal really personifies the beginning of soup season for you?