Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The cure for what ailed me

It's probably 90% due to my daughter being a clingy ball of mucus-spewing misery and 10% due to my stubborn refusal to believe she was contagious, but I've been 100% totally sick for a week. Not only did I have the normal signs of disease (103 degree fever, aching body, nasty cough), but I was manifesting every single one of the Sharon signs of the apocalypse:
  • Crawled into bed and slept while the sun was out.
  • As pain relief, opted to pop Advil into my mouth instead of popping a batch of cookies into the oven.
  • Did not eat.
Needless to say, my family was extremely concerned.
  • My daughter checked my temperature every five minutes.
  • My son plied me with ginger ale.
  • The dog drooled on me.
  • My niece called every day from Michigan.
  • My mom prayed. Hard.
  • And my husband kept the place stocked with chicken soup.
It was 110% all that love that made me better.

Homemade Chicken Stock for Chicken Soup
from The Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Hermann Loomis

1 Tbs. butter
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
1 Tbs. olive oil
3-4 lbs. chicken pieces
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 rib of celery, with leaves if you like, sliced
6-8 cups of water
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
a few black peppercorns

In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. When it's hot, add the onions and saute until they are soft and pale golden, about 10 minutes. Remove the onions and set aside. Add the oil to the pot and heat over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and lightly brown them, about 5-8 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and the cooked onions to the pot, then add enough water to comfortably cover everything. Tuck in the herbs. Cover and bring to a boil. Skim any foam that comes to the surface. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the chicken has completely fallen from the bones, 2 to 3 hours. Strain the stock several times, lastly through a fine sieve*. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Before using or freezing, skim off any fat that has solidified on the surface.

To make medicinal chicken soup quickly from your stock, get a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and pull off or chop up some pieces for your soup. Chop up a carrot, some celery and some onions. Heat up some olive oil in a stock pot. Saute the veggies to soften them, then stir in the chicken. Add some kosher salt, pepper and whatever homey herbs you have on hand, and cook until the flavors have blended a bit. Pour in the homemade chicken stock and heat gently. About 5 minutes before serving, I like to add some thinly sliced fresh mushrooms, green onions, soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil and fresh ramen or soba noodles.

* You can discard the chicken and veggies, but since I have a huge hungry dog who gets diet dry food all the time, I save that stuff (without the bones) to mix into his meals for a nice treat.

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