Whether it’s cold and snowy or mildly sunny and cool where you are, winter Sunday’s seem to be a perfect day for soup. An easy quick meal that can be enhanced for those with a bigger appetite (adding quesadillas as a side to chili is popular for growing teenage boys) or salad for those wanting more greens, the beauty of soup, however, is that it can easily stand on it’s own.
From lighter starter soups served to hearty stews and chilies that take center stage at a meal, there is rarely a food more readily identified as “comforting” than soup. When we are sick we seek soup for both its health benefits (easy to digest, often full of vitamins, antioxidants and protein) and for it’s comfort factor. By most accounts, soup has been in existence since 20,000 BC, and for those who grew up in a household where soup was made regularly, the smell is transporting.
There is a terrific book by Lorraine Wallace, “Mr. Sunday’s Soups” that features nothing but simple, delicious recipes that will give you more than a year’s worth of Sunday meals. The recipes are so varied and universally pleasing that you will rarely need to look outside it’s pages for other options.
One of the most common ingredients for soup is chicken stock, a staple everyone should know how to make. Once you create it from scratch, you will be a devotee. Making the stock fills your home with a wonderful aroma plus you can shred the meat from the chicken breasts to use in tacos or chicken salad and even give the puppies a little something extra for dinner. (Try mixing some of the dark thigh meat in their kibble and add some of the stock-you will be their hero!)
Simple Chicken Stock
- 1 whole chicken
- 2 carrots chopped coarsely
- 2 celery stalks chopped coarsely
- 1 yellow onion in quarters
- 1/2 unpeeled head of garlic
- 8 spring fresh parsley
- 4 springs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Place all ingredients into stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Place a fine mesh colander over a bowl and strain the contents of the entire pot. Chill the stock over night and remove the surface fat before use. Either use immediately or pack in containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Enjoy!
What are your favorite soup recipes?