>> Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I'm still here! As much as I love writing this blog, it's always a little hard to get back into the swing of things after taking a self-imposed break. But, the kids are back in school, and I have a lot of ideas on the back burner, so hopefully you'll see more posts here in the near future.
My husband is a huge soup fan - HUGE! Me, well, not so much. I like my comforting tomato soup, but I usually have a hard time getting excited about soup. My kids would agree. They groan when they find out I'm making soup, which turns out to be quite a bit during the colder months. This soup, however, has grown on both my kids and me, so much so that my son declared, "This soup is delicious!" upon eating it recently.
I like to go all the way when I make this soup, and it becomes a two day affair. I start by making a simple chicken stock. The cooked chicken goes back into the soup the next day, and I'm left with a flavorful soup base that is way better than any broth or stock from a box. One advantage of making the stock the day before is that I can let it cool in the fridge overnight and then skim off the solidified fat layer the next day. If you're vegetarian, you could start by making a vegetable broth and forgo the chicken, of course. And, if you don't have the time or inclination or are just feeling lazy (we've all been there), you could skip making the stock altogether and use canned or boxed broth instead.
The second day is reserved for actually making the soup. The vegetables cook for a good hour, which lets the flavors really meld. If you don't have the exact vegetables listed in the recipe on hand, use what you have or what you like...but the combo of vegetables in the recipe really does make an amazing soup.
Oh, and the name? I don't know where the soup recipe originally came from, but my version is a permutation of a soup recipe from my husband's cousin Susan. I've changed it up a bit to suit our tastes, but this soup will forever be Susan's Chicken and Vegetable Soup to me.
Susan's Chicken and Vegetable Soup
1 whole chicken (I tend to get as small a chicken as I can find, which is still pretty big)
3 quarts water
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
1 TBSP peppercorns
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, quartered
1 stalk celery, chopped
Place all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered until the chicken is fully cooked. Turn off heat, remove chicken, and let cool. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from the bones and chop. Set cooked chicken aside for the next day. Place the bones back into the stock pot and bring to a boil again. Cover and simmer for another 40 min. Pour liquid through a colander or strainer into a container. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, skim the congealed fat layer before continuing on with the soup.
stock from above
2 lbs corn (frozen is fine)
2 lbs tomatoes (or 2-15 oz cans diced tomatoes with juice)
2 cups chopped okra (frozen is fine)
2 cups baby lima beans (frozen is fine)
1-2 onions, chopped
3-4 carrots, chopped
3-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped (to taste)
1 TBSP sugar
2-3 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
reserved chopped chicken
Add stock through pepper into stock pot. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 1 hour. Add chicken about 15 min before serving.
This makes a lot of soup! I take the extra and freeze it to use on a night when I don't feel like cooking. If you halve the recipe, freeze the extra stock for another day.