These are some crazy times.
SXSW, in case you didn’t know, is a huge technology, film, and music festival and conference that (usually) happens every March here in Austin, Texas. Two weeks ago, when the coronavirus seemed literally a world away, I was still planning on going. People around here—the reasonable ones—were concerned about having people from all over the world come to Austin, but I planned on attending.
I was not very concerned because, like many of us, I initially thought that people were overreacting. Then, unprecedentedly, SXSW was cancelled.
My tribe and I were adamant. We were still planning on going to all the bars and clubs in order to support our local community and artists. But, within just a week, we came to our senses. We went from insisting that we could still socialize and help our community, to full-on social-distancing and worrying about simpler things, like groceries. And toilet paper—seriously, what’s up with the toilet paper?
When I heard that the local grocery stores were being overwhelmed, I gave the commotion a few days to settle down. One of the first things I made (once I finally managed some grocery shopping) was a big batch of chicken and vegetable soup. I’m happy to report the shopping was much better than anticipated—no long lines, and most of the shelves were still full.
I did forget to get toilet paper though—didn’t even look down that aisle.
• • •
In the spirit of helping each other, here is my recipe for some damn good chicken soup. I wish I could make it for you.
This recipe is really good for when you’re sick, but it’s also just damn good, anytime. And it’s healthy and delicious. The jalapenos might surprise you, but they add some heat that feels really good when you’re sick, or sick of thinking about being sick. I made a big batch and froze most of it.
Sometimes a good bowl of soup can make it all a little better.
Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Homemade Broth
- 1 whole chicken
- 1/2 apple
- 2 large yellow onions
- 3-5 garlic cloves
- Fresh herbs (Thyme, Rosemary, Sage)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 stick butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 celery sticks with leaves
- 3-4 carrots with leaves
- Splash of white wine vinegar (around a TBSP)
- broccoli stems (save the flowers for the soup)
- Any other vegetables can go in this really, especially parts of vegetables that you wouldn’t normally eat, like the ends of onions, zucchini or carrot tops. There are plenty of nutrients and flavor there.
- Salt & Pepper
Roast the chicken first:
- Eat the 1/2 apple not required for the recipe, they’re good for you.
- Preheat oven to 500.
- Mix the butter and olive oil and coat the chicken inside and out.
- Take the 1/2 apple and cut into quarters. Do the same with 1/2 of one of the onions. then take the garlic, apple, herbs and onion and insert into the cavity of the bird.
- Generously salt and pepper the inside and outside of the bird.
- Place in the oven and turn the temp down to 350. Roast for 1-2 hours depending on size of the bird. Typically 20 minutes per pound.
- Let the chicken rest before you eat it…
- Enjoy some roasted chicken.
- Once the chicken is cool enough. take all the good meat off the chicken with your hands and save the meat for the soup. Save the bones for the broth.
Making the broth:
- In a large pot sauté the onion, carrots and celery (all roughly chopped) on medium heat with a little olive oil, you can also use some of the chicken grease that you got from roasting the chicken (3-5 minutes).
- Add some fresh garlic cloves and sauté an extra 1-2 minutes.
- Add the rest of your vegetables and place all the bones and what was inside the roasted chicken (apple, onion, etc.) into the pot and the fresh herbs and bay leaf. sauté another 1-2 minutes.
- Add enough water to cover everything by at least 2 inches. I usually cover the pot with the lid ajar.
- Bring to a boil and then turn way down. You want it to barely be simmering. Do this for 4-8 hours adding water as needed to keep everything covered.
- Strain the broth and cool overnight. The fats will rise to the top and you can separate easily once chilled. You should end up with 6-8 cups of broth. If you don’t have time you can use as-is.
- Salt and pepper to taste. You can also add whole peppercorns (10-12) and a little salt at the beginning.
- Or, simply buy some chicken broth at the store, but it won’t be nearly as good.. 🙂
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- Meat from roasted chicken
- 2 yellow onions (sometimes I’ll make one of them sweet)
- Fresh herbs (Thyme, Rosemary and Sage, 2-4 sprigs of each tied into a bundle)
- 1 Lime
- 4-8 cups chicken broth
- 1 -2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2-3 carrots
- 1 celery stick
- 1-2 jalapeños (For Texans!)
- 3-5 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 ears of corn, taken off the cob
- 3-4 tomatoes
- Small variety or red potatoes
- Green beans
- Whatever you want really, I’ve been adding cauliflower, fresh spinach, mushrooms, leeks and cabbage to mine lately.
- ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
- In a large pot sauté the onion, celery, carrots, jalapeños (all coarsely chopped) with some olive oil (3-5 minutes).
- Add the garlic, bay leaf and fresh herbs and sauté for 1-2 minutes more.
- Add the bulk of the vegetables (potatoes, green beans, corn, tomatoes – finely chopped), the chicken broth, lime juice, vinegar and salt & pepper.
- Bring to a slight boil and turn down and slow cook for 30 minutes.
- Then add your “soft” vegetables (broccoli, zucchini, squash, etc.) and cook for 20 more minutes.
- Add the chopped parsley at the last minute.
- Salt and pepper to taste. I add a little salt and pepper at the beginning being careful not to over do it.
Enjoy and take care of each other out there!