This month's recipe was for chicken soup. Now, you may ask, why would anyone need a step by step guide to making chicken soup. Normally I would ask that same question but being a veteran of Fine Cooking's step by step instructions, I was game to try this recipe.
Well, I'm glad I did because this chicken soup eclipsed any chicken soup I've made in the past. Not only was the actual broth absolutely delicious, I followed their lead and added swiss chard, oyster mushrooms, and barley to the finished broth. This is not something I would have ever done before since generally I am a chicken noodle soup believer.
I'm not going o lie to you and tell you that the recipes in Fine Cooking are always really easy or that they aren't sometimes a little on the time consuming side. But what I will tell you is that you won't be disappointed that you went to the effort.
Here's the recipe I followed for Chicken Soup with Barley, Mushrooms and Greens. For other recipes for chicken soup and step by step instructions, pick up a copy of the December/January issue of Fine Cooking.
Recipe: Basic Chicken Broth
Fine Cooking, December/January, 2012)
1 3-lb. chicken
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion (about 6 oz.), cut into 1/2-inch wedges
Freshly ground black pepper
Tip: Removing the chicken’s skin gives you a less fatty broth that won’t need as much skimming.
Using a small sharp knife and your fingers, remove the skin from the chicken and discard it.
Rinse the chicken well and put it in a large (at least 8-quart), heavy-duty pot or Dutch oven. Add enough cold water to submerge the chicken (about 5 quarts). Cover the pot, with the lid slightly ajar. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook, occasionally skimming off any foam that accumulates on the surface, until foam no longer rises, about 30 minutes.
Add the carrots, celery, onion, 1-1/2 Tbs. salt, and 2 tsp. pepper and simmer until the vegetables start to soften and the chicken is completely cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Using tongs and a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a large rimmed baking sheet. Let cool for 10 minutes; meanwhile, continue simmering the broth, partially covered. Using your fingers, pull the meat from the bones and shred it into bite-size pieces; discard any gristle or fat. Set aside the shredded chicken.
Return the carcass to the broth and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are completely soft and the flavor has intensified, about 30 minutes more. If at any time the water level drops below the solids, add water to cover and return to a simmer.
Remove the carcass from the broth and discard. Strain the broth through a fine sieve set over another pot or a bowl large enough to hold the broth. Gently press on the solids with a large spoon to squeeze out any remaining broth.
Recipe: Chicken Soup with Barley, Mushrooms and Greens
Fine Cooking, December/January, 2012
1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil or canola oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 cups finely chopped celery
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
3 quarts Homemade Chicken Broth
3-1/2 to 4 cups shredded, cooked chicken
3 cups cooked-until-barely-tender barley
3/4 pound Swiss chard, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 oz. oyster mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 tsp. to 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving (optional)
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large (at least 8-quart), heavy-duty pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, and 1/2 Tbs. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned in places, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds.
Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are completely tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Stir in the reserved shredded chicken, barley, chard, and mushrooms. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until all are tender and the flavors meld, 5 to 10 minutes.
Stir in 1 tsp. of the vinegar. Taste, and add more vinegar, 1 tsp. at a time, if needed, up to 2 Tbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish each bowl with a 1 Tbs. of the grated cheese, if you like.