not just any chicken soup

December 20th, 2009 · 957 Comments

i know… we’re in the throes of the holidays and here i am giving you the kind of post you might more be expecting in january. this modest, even unassuming soup is a fine example of the simple comfort food that everyone craves after all the excess and extravaganza that will ring out the year. but for me, even amidst all the decadence, there would be few things on my list that could ever equal the magnificence that is this soup.

imagine. if you had a cold and then you crossed my beloved jewish grandma julia with someone else’s italian nonna, i’m thinking that whatever she’d be cooking for you might look a little something like what you see here.

and really, all i’m saying is that sometimes, sniffles or not, in between all the festivity, undoubtedly filled with an array of benton’s bacon wrapped dates, hudson valley foie gras on pain de mie toast points, baked wheels of brie with fig jam on top, wine braised lamb shanks and slow roasted loins of meat – possibly followed up with a very beloved christmas eve lasagna = not to mention what you may have on the menu for your new year’s celebration… well, you might just want soup.

and of them all, to me this one reigns supreme.

i threw a whole chicken in the pot along with a rough chopped onion, some carrots, bay leaves, cracked peppercorns and salt. after about 90 minutes i removed most of the meat from the carcass and put it off to the side, putting all the bones back in and letting it go for about another 3 hours at barely a simmer. then i added some parsley, thyme and garlic for the last 40 minutes or so.

i strained the broth through a damp towel lined chinois, discarding everything solid and when the liquid was cooled i defatted the stock by about 90%. about 30 minutes before serving i warmed the broth and chopped up some fresh fennel, collard greens and carrots, adding back the all the shredded chicken and lastly i made trofie pasta, keeping it al dente so as not to soften up too much in the soup.

i loved it. deeply…

(a special thanks to chef bob del grosso for his willingness to both coach and reassure me when i am clueless…which is often.)

Tags: chicken · soup

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