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Chicken Soup

By Dawn Robnett, Mesquite Valley Page

This month’s recipe is out of a wonderful book I have by the name of Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther

We love stews and soups in fall/winter and this book really covers the making of broth and stock from scratch, very well. It’s contents cover Master Stocks, Poultry, Meat, Fish and Vegetable. I picked this recipe because it uses a fair amount of cream and for those of us who have does in late lactation, we’re seeing a lot more of that right now. This recipe begins by discussing the type of bird best for the task of this soup and that would be an old hen or rooster. They make the best stocks because as a bird ages, the meat toughens but it also becomes more flavorful. Fresh out of old birds? Totally okay, just use a whole bird from the store.

6 celery stalks, including leaves

3 carrots, including the carrot tops

1 yellow onion

1 whole stewing hen (3-4 pounds)

2 leeks, cleaned

3 whole cloves

2 tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

6 egg yolks, beaten

2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons chopped chives

Pluck the leaves from the celery and place them in a stockpot. Chop off the carrot tops and peel the carrots, dropping both the peelings and tops into the pot. Chop off the root and top ends of the onion and then peel it, tucking the onion trimmings into the pot. Mince the celery carrots, and onions very finely and then place them in a mixing bowl. Rinse the chicken thoroughly and pat dry before adding it to the stockpot, covering it completely with cold water by about 2 inches. Pierce the leek with the cloves so that they remain stuck inside its tender stalk and place it in the stock pot alongside the stewing chicken. Slowly simmer until the chicken is completely cooked and tender to the bone, about 2 hours. Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a platter to allow it to cool until you can pick the meat off the bones comfortably. Strain the remaining broth through a fine-mesh sieve, into a pitcher or jar, discarding the solids. Wipe the pot clean with a kitchen towel. Melt the butter in a cast-iron skillet until it foams, toss the minced vegetables and fry until they become fragrant and tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean stock pot. Once the chicken has cooled, pick its meat off the bones (reserve the bones for Double-Cooked Stock, page 48). Mince the meat very finely. Stir the chicken into the vegetables and pour the strained broth back into the stock pot. Stir in the finely grated nutmeg, and then bring it all to a bare simmer over medium heat. Temper the beaten eggs by stirring a spoonful of broth into the eggs, then pouring the mixture of eggs and broth into the simmering soup. Gently stir in the heavy cream, parsley, and chives. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and serve warm.

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