I made a lot of chicken soup during the Covid season. A lot. I was the deliver to the front porch and dash lady.
"Ringy ding ding! Ringy ding ding!" sang my phone.
"Hello! Mimi? We have another sick one on the list. Can you deliver Covid Care to this address?"
Who can turn down a request for chicken soup delivery? We all know the healing power of chicken soup beats big pharma by 1000%, maybe more.
So I made A LOT of chicken soup winter 2020/2021. And by a lot I mean gallons and gallons. Whereas I developed flavor from the chicken bone to the last dice of veggie I also knew that a loss of taste and smell was a common Covid symptom. Not me. I could taste and smell just fine but I had zero, zip, NO appetitive. So between the two symptom profiles I felt a little defeated in Covid Care Chicken Soup. And then boredom hit. Really? I need to make another gallon of soup? One quart for delivery and 3 quarts in the freezer for later in the week on call delivery.
But this year we are talking
Chicken Soup. Not Mimi's own Covid Care soup but real soup. The variety that warms your taste buds and your bones.
This is it. Its smell tantalizes the entire olfactory system. Its taste is sublime. Maybe sublime is taking it a bit far. Maybe delicious is a better descriptor. It is delicious and soul warming and fills up a growling tummy in a delightful way.
Chicken Potpie Soup can be quite simple to make or it could be a bit more complex should you want to develop flavor from the bone marrow out. I am into flavor development but sometimes speed is the name of this game. I will give instructions for both.
2½ cups potatoes cut into ½ inch dices
2 cups carrots cut into dices
2 tablespoons olive oil (substitute home rendered schmalz for a flavor boost)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 450°.
Whisk the fat and seasoning and fat together in a medium bowl. Add veggies to seasoning mix and toss to coat. Pour veggies onto rimmed baking sheet and roast 12-15 minutes or until tender. Set veggies aside.
6 slices bacon
1 cup diced celery
2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoon minced garlic
1½ - 2 pounds boneless chicken (I prefer dark meat for flavor but boneless, skinless chicken breast is fine)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons flour
1 quart chicken broth (home made is 1000% better than commercial broth but a quart of broth from the grocery store is 1000% easier)
2 cups whole milk
2 cups frozen peas
Cut chicken into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
Dice celery and celery and set aside in separate bowls. Add minced garlic to the celery bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon fat to a Dutch oven over medium heat. Again, I prefer schmalz to olive oil. Add bacon and fry until crisp. Remove bacon.
Leave 2 tablespoons fat in Dutch oven and heat until just shimmering. Cook chicken pieces in 2 or 3 batches just until done. Remove chicken and set aside. Leave the fat in the pot and add the diced onions. Cook until soft. Add celery and garlic and cook 5-7 minutes longer.
Add 2 tablespoons butter (or schmalz) to hot Dutch oven. Melt. Sprinkle flour over fat and let it lightly brown while stirring constantly. This will take only a minute or two.
Slowly pour broth over browned flour, stirring constantly. Add 2 cups milk. Let come to a light simmer and reduce heat to low. Add chicken and roasted vegetables.
Cook over low heat stirring often just until it begins to thicken. Add 2 cups of frozen peas, if you please, and let the soup heat through.
I like to serve this soup with a simple green salad and garlic bread.
I usually add a few sprigs of thyme to the soup pot along with the broth. I grow thyme so I carelessly toss it into my dishes as the fancy strikes. I have not preserved my own peas but after leaving a 12 ounce package of peas in the grocery store freezer I decided I need to grow peas next summer. $2.00 for 12 ounces of peas? That is crazy!
I also prefer using my own bone broth. I save the bones and scraps from eviscerated chickens in a zip lock baggy in the freezer. When I
have saved enough bones I turn them into bone broth and pressure can it in quarts.