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Friday, May 22, 2009

Homemade Chicken Soup

Over the years I have heard and even read that Chicken Soup has healing qualities.

Apparently a bowl of chicken soup cures whatever ales you, especially colds and flu.

One day I discovered it had properties that I was totally unaware of.

My grand children Ethan and Ella came to visit for the weekend. Early Saturday morning they both scurried down the stairs into the kitchen.

I asked what they would like for breakfast and in unison they both sang out “soup.”

My efforts to dissuade them did no good. I even tried to change their minds by offering homemade muffins, cinnamon rolls and even their favourite cereal.

When all efforts failed, and realizing the soup was requested for breakfast, I immediately pulled out the pressure cooker from the cupboard and got to work.

They watched intently as I prepared all the ingredients and set the cooker onto the stove.

Then they both grabbed a chair and proceeded to drag it in front of the stove and sit down.

After I moved them back a safe distance they both got comfortable in their chairs and watched the pot for 45 minutes.

Several times I heard them calling out “Is it ready yet?"

So chicken soup was served for breakfast that morning and did they ever enjoy it!

I didn’t have any soup, but enjoyed myself as much as they did… maybe more!

My recipe for chicken soup is very basic and I can’t be sure of its healing properties. But one thing is for sure, there’s nothing like a steaming bowl of it on a cold winter day.

I guess you could call that a healing quality!

Homemade Chicken Soup

1 chicken 4 to 5 pounds (either fryer or stewing.)
2 to 3 stalks celery with leaves
2 medium or 1 large onion
1 medium potato peeled
2 medium carrots
1 fresh tomato
4 to 5 peppercorns (optional)
salt to taste
  1. Wash and quarter chicken and place into a large pot.
  2. Add enough water to cover chicken completely, bring to a boil and skim off any foam that comes to the top.
  3. Wash and add vegetables and salt, cover pot and simmer for 2 to 2 ½ hours
  4. Strain, and if desired remove meat from bones and add to soup along with cut up vegetables.
  5. To remove any excess fat, cool soup down then refrigerate. Any fat will rise to the top making removal easier.
Notes Tips and Suggestions
  • Using a pressure cooker decreases cooking time to 45 minutes. It’s like cooking slow food very fast.
  • Some recipes suggest adding a bay leaf to the ingredients. I personally found the taste of the bay leaf too strong and overpowering.
  • If you happen to have a chunk of cheese that has become too hard to grate add it to the pot. It adds another layer of flavour to the soup.
  • Don't remove the brown skin from the onion and your soup will take on a beautiful golden colour.
  • I once read that adding a slice of lemon along with your vegetables helps extract calcium from the chicken bones and that's a nutritional plus! Though I can't confirm this as a scientific fact the lemon does add a certain " je ne sais quois."
  • To have the ultimate chicken soup experience, serve with homemade noodles. I hope to publish a post on homemade pasta in the future.
  • After taking the picture for my blog I sat down to a totally unscheduled meal in the middle of the afternoon and must say I rather enjoyed myself.
I think the grandkids are really on to something!

Meet the Pressure Cooker Family

I owned a pressure cooker for almost five years before I got up enough nerve to use it.

How I regret not using it when I needed it the most!

It would have made those days as a working mom so much easier. So if you've never considered owning one, or have just been thinking about buying one, or if you're someone who hasn't taken the one you own out of the box yet, you don't know what you're missing!

Below is my pressure cooker family, mama, papa and baby.

If mama looks a little worn out, she is. She's been in the kitchen with "someone" for the past thirty years.

Papa joined the family a few years later and is responsible for the "big batch" cooking, baby is the newest member and just sweats the small stuff.

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