About a week ago, I had the Roast Chicken urge. You know the one where you imagine a perfect roast chicken, brilliantly browned and crisp, with melt-in-your-mouth tender white and dark meat? Well I duly went out and bought quite an expensive Free-Range bird. I believe that when it comes to Roast Chicken, simpler is better. Somehow, on my way to retrieve Marcella Hazan’s super simple Roast Chicken – with two lemons and salt and pepper and that’s it—I was waylaid by an even simpler recipe. This one eliminated the lemons. And miraculously, it cooked even faster than Marcella’s, which was likely the deciding factor. Then too, its author is a-famous-chef-who-shall-remain-nameless to protect the guilty. Now this doesn’t happen often in our house but I was not at all happy about how “cooked” the 50-minute chicken was. So I abandoned almost the whole bird and stuck it in the freezer. Over the weekend, as winter bore down and it was once again freezing here, I decided to make Chicken Soup with my partially cooked roast chicken. I imagined a long afternoon of soup making. That turned out to be a complete overestimate. The chicken soup I made, full of chicken flavor, with onions, carrots and celery submerged in a heavenly broth, was everything I’d hoped. Astonishingly, it was made with just 7 ingredients and start to finish took all of an hour and ten minutes to make.
Recipe for Martha Stewart’s Basic Chicken Soup
Makes 6 servings. Takes a little over an hour to make.
1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), cut into pieces (including back)
8 cups water
3 medium onions, thinly sliced (4 cups)
2 celery stalks, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
4 garlic cloves, crushed
6 medium carrots, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1. Bring chicken, water, and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a large stockpot. Skim foam. Add onions, celery, and garlic. Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
2. Remove breasts, and set aside. Add carrots. Simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes.
Remove remaining chicken; discard back and wings. Let cool slightly. Remove meat from bones, and cut into bite-size pieces.
3. Stir in desired amount of chicken, bring to a boil then add any additions you would like to make—pasta, noodles, semi-cooked Tortolini—and cook until addition is cooked. Add spinach or greens and when they have started to wilt, remove from heat; Skim fat and ladle soup into bowls, reserving the rest for another use. Season with salt. Serve.