The sun is back and it is a miracle, a gift from god, it IS god. You get it. You understand our ancestors on a whole new level. You want to go build a Stonehenge, too. You want to copy your cats – spy a sunspot and lay there all afternoon, your whiskers twitching slightly. But you don’t have whiskers, nor do you have all afternoon to lay around and you also don’t have giant slabs of rock or muscles or slaves (? maybe? Historians?)* Anyway, there are dogs to walk and basking to be done out there.
You’re leaving the house in fewer clothes, less layers. You’re taking those sleeves off under the big ball of sky-fire to air out your sweat in the (slightly too cool) breeze. You are not wearing pants to bed – you never do – but now you’re not so cocooned in that big squishy blanket. Your fan is on a higher setting. You leave the windows open all day.
And so you have a cold again. You just wiped it out, decimated it with vitamins and juice and apples and new medicine you didn’t want to take but had to because goddamn you hate waking up so many times in the night to cough. Or maybe that was asthma and not a cold. But anyway. You wake up with a nose full of snot now.
In fact it doesn’t blow at all. You cannot clear this shit out that way. You need to do it from the inside. Kick that cold right out of you and into the big ball of sky-fire.
So make some soup like your grandma did. Which means you need to make chicken stock. It’s all about boiling those bones and getting all the magic healing out of them. The marrow or something? I don’t know, I’m not a scientist. I’m a … person who eats a lot of food. I’m an eater, dammit!
Here is how I make chicken stock.
Start with some veggies. Here’s a crappy picture of mine.
And that’s exactly what I throw in. Wash them, yes, but you can throw in every bit of the things. Skins are fine (onion skins add a great yellow colour to the stock. You can use onion skins for dyes actually. Don’t use food colouring, wtf), stems are fine, leaves are also fine. Also fine is a bag of “ends” and almost-rotten-vegetables that you cut up ahead of time and froze. Cut these things into chunks of relatively the same size – and not too small, don’t dice – and throw them into a stock pot.
Now you need some chicken, with bones. This can be the carcass from your roast chicken dinner, or you can buy it fresh. If you’re making soup from this where you want pieces of chicken, don’t just use chicken backs. Get some drumsticks or something in there, too. There is very little actual meat on chicken backs., as I discovered this time. If you’re just making chicken stock and don’t need chicken meat, then the backs should be fine. Also look how cheap they are! This is way cheaper than buying boxed stock, you guys.
Rinse your chicken, then it goes in the pot with the veggies. Cover with lots of water. Fill the stock pot about half way up, if you have enough stuff in there. I think I used 8 cups of water, maybe 10, for this amount of chicken. If you’re using more chicken you can add more water. Remember that the water will evaporate off while cooking so make sure you add enough, but also remember if you want a stronger stock less water may be for you. It doesn’t really matter, you can’t really eff this up.
Add salt and pepper and any other seasonings you wish. Some people don’t add anything at this stage because they want a purer stock, but I like my food to taste yummy so I add salt. Also I figure if I add salt now I won’t have to later. I think I also added celery salt? And black pepper.
With everything in the pot it is time to turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil.
Skim that foam off the top. Once it boils, cover (partially, so steam can still escape) and turn the heat down so it simmers without too many bubbles coming up. You don’t want it rippling and bubbling like crazy because it breaks everything down too fast. And now you leave it alone to do it’s thing for 30-45 minutes or so. Occasionally skim the foam off the top and give it a little stir.
If you’re like me and started this way too late in the day and are currently starving, make some of these:
Back to the stock. If you’re going to use the meat check it starting around the half-hour mark. When it is done cooking, or just about done (when the pink is gone) take it out and let it cool while the other stuff keeps cooking.
When the chicken has cooled, start picking it apart. Put the meat you’re going to cook with (into soup or whatever, you can also use it for salad or sandwiches) aside in a bowl and put the bones back into the simmering water. Let the stock continue to cook for another half an hour or so.
After that half an hour you can strain the stuff out of the stock. Press on the solids to get all the yummy flavour out of them, then discard all of it. You now have a large amount of fairly greasy stock. Put it in the fridge, overnight if possible but a few hours is fine, and when it’s cool all the fat will have hardened to the top. You can cook with this fat, or toss it, or feed it to a dog. If you don’t have a few hours, pour it into smaller containers so it cools faster. If using glass, be very careful about the hot stock and let it cool for a little bit first. Or don’t use glass.
Now you have homemade chicken stock! Use it in everything – it has amazing flavour. I had enough to make risotto and it turned out great! But, as I said I was sick and wanted chicken noodle soup. Briefly, here’s how I made it:
You should have your cooked chicken from earlier.
If making noodle soup, start cooking your noodles in a separate pot.
Chop some veggies – I used one celery, one carrot, one parsnip, and a bit of diced onion from the freezer. And garlic! I used a lot of that.
Melt some oil in a pot – I used chicken fat or butter. On medium heat, saute onions then add garlic and other vegetables. Cook ’em for a bit, till the veggies are getting soft.
Sprinkle your herbs/seasonings on top. I believe I used thyme, sage, basil and some cayenne pepper for heat.
Add your chicken stock! If you find it really fatty looking you can do part stock/part water. Bring to a low boil.
Add your chicken meat. Gently simmer this while your noodles finish up, or for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in your drained noodles and any frozen vegetables (peas or corn.)
Eat it and be well!
*troll disclaimer: That does not mean I wish for slaves or slavery, obviously. Go back to your cave.