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Sunday, September 12, 2010


I have a cold. I hate having a cold. I sneeze and sniffle, my head feels like it is full of buzzing bees, my eyes get teary. It's a whole thing. Lucky for me I only get sick about once every three years or so. Anyhow, while cleaning out our refrigerator (AKA leftovers for lunch) my husband found half of a rotisserie chicken. We set it aside to take the meat off the bones and while I was warming up leftover pasta and chicken for the kids lunches, my awesome hubby cracked open the Emeril's New Orleans Cooking Cookbook and started making chicken stock.

You guys? I could have cried. I love that after 10 years together, now when he sees bones, he thinks SOUP! I mean as opposed to, "I need to throw these away!" I really make broth; just throw various vegetables and bones into a pot, add herbs, salt and pepper and call it a day. However DH has a different style; he wants a recipe to follow, and that is cool too. This is how he did it, inspired by Emeril's basic chicken *stock*.

He browned the vegetables in oil first, (onion, garlic, celery; and since we were out of carrots, a diced parsnip). He also added 2 bay leaves (Emeril calls for 4!) We used 1/2 teaspoon of italian herbs (Emeril calls for dried basil), we skipped the thyme (we were out), 1/2 tsp of dried leaf tarragon and 1/2 tsp dried oregano. We used 1 cooked chicken carcass, Emeril's calls for 2 pounds of raw chicken bones, necks and entrails. We lacked whole black peppercorns, we used ground black pepper to taste, we added salt to taste and just filled up a good sized sauce pan with water, enough to cover everything by at least an inch.

Bring it all to a boil, then reduce and simmer for -- oh, about as long as you want. As it boils sometimes this weird, foamy scum will rise to the top, simply skim it off and keep going. This really only happens to me if I am for some reason using raw chicken bones (as Emeril suggests) but I almost always just have some carcass from a rotisserie chicken that needs using up, so there ya go. When the stock is ready, you can strain it through a colander or a wide strainer into another container for refrigeration. I suggest cooling the liquid down before you put it in the fridge to avoid warming the other foods already being stored. Emeril suggests (and this is so good I wish I had thought if it) strain the stock into a storage container that is nestled in a sink filled with ice and then store it. I have been known to put broth in wide shallow pans to cool down quickly on the counter-top before being placed in the fridge. I think E's way will work beautifully though.

Darling husband of mine just kept on trucking and made his version of Emeril's famous chicken soup since I have the aforementioned COLD FROM HELL. He actually let the stock simmer while he went to the store for supplies. Write this down, because you will LOVE it.

2 Tb of Olive Oil
Some chicken cut up into chunks (we used leftover cooked chicken and 2 raw chicken breasts)
1 C chopped onion (or in our case 1/2 of a big onion chopped)
1/2 C chopped celery
1/2 C chopped carrots
1/2 C chopped green onion (4 green onion stalks, white parts and some green)
2 TB of minced garlic (for me 3 cloves or so)
1/4 C fresh parsley leaves (Chopped a goodly amount, parsley is cheap!)
1 TB fresh chopped basil (smells AMAZING)
4 bay leaves (EW! 2 bay leaves)
1 TB Emeril's Creole seasoning (We had some Emeril's Southwest seasoning on hand, used that, but any nice spicy blend will do.)
2 C assorted chopped veggies (examples given were beans, zucchini, yellow squash, cabbage or whatever is in season.) We used a bag of frozen Gumbo veggie mix blend that had been lurking in the freezer waiting for a chance to get out!
1 C. firmly packed, rinsed and torn, spinach leaves (We did 2 C of spinach leaves, moderately well packed.)
1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper, (we didn't have any, just used David's BBQ spice rub in the same amount. You could also sub in some tabasco sauce.)
2 C cooked noodles
3 quarts of chicken stock

We chopped up the raw chicken breasts and added them to the stock pot, already heated and waiting with the olive oil. We added the salt and pepper, and sauteed the heck out of it all. Then we added the cooked chopped chicken meat, leftover from our rotisserie chicken. Next we added the chopped celery, carrots, green onions and garlic. Then the basil, bay leaves, and southwest blend seasoning. After this all had a chance to sautée we added the bag of frozen veggies, the torn spinach and the spice rub and let that all come together. Then we added the strained stock and let it all go to a boil, brought it back down to a simmer and let it shmoozle together for 20 minutes or so. We cooked the noodles (about half a bag of egg noodles) separately about 5 minutes before the soup was done. Then we added a small amount of cooked noodles to each soup bowl before ladling the soup on top. I prefer to cook the noodles separately because the noodles do not over cook, nor when you store the leftover soup (and a family of 2 adults and 2 small kids will have leftovers) the noodles swell in the broth and get horribly overdone.

This soup was a tonic for the soul. Fragrant, steamy, and lovely it just cut through the cloud of confusion on my head. Emeril's recipe calls for browning the soup bones and using chopped fresh veggies, but honestly I am not sure it could have been THAT much better than what we had tonight. Delicious. Hubby swept and mopped the kitchen floor while it simmered and we all got a very healthy serving of flavorful vegetables and lean protein. All in all this was a perfect Fall weekend dinner. For dessert we had an autumnal spice cake, but I will save that recipe for another time.

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