Soup heals. Broken hearts. Clogged sinuses. Tired children. Bloated bodies.
Whatever the woe, soup heals.
For the first few days after my father’s death, I was ravenous. There was something primal, disturbing about my appetite, but I could not get enough food into my mouth. I craved steak, cheese, foods with big taste, and I ate them with gusto. My mouth was the only thing that felt alive.
Then, as my grief moved on to the next phases, my appetite faded. My strength returned, but my hunger diminished. I had to remind myself to eat, to force myself to cook, and that’s where soup returned into my life.
A simple vegetable soup wouldn’t do. I needed something more nourishing, comforting, yet fortifying, without being overwhelmingly hearty.
This two-step chicken soup fits the bill. This isn’t your throw it in the crockpot and forget it soup. It’s something that’s crafted over a few hours, layering flavors over time, flavors to fill the bowl and comfort the soul.
Begin with flavorful chicken wings, browned in the stockpot to create delicious caramelized bits. Continue with the mirepoix and a touch of oil, sautéed on low to soften and build flavor. Then comes the first long part, the making of the chicken soup base, simmered softly on the stove for an hour or two to fill the house with the smell of comfort.
Once your stock is ready, remove the chicken wings and set aside. Add in colorful veggies, whatever makes you happy. Sweet potato. Cauliflower. Broccoli. Parsnips. I’ve done peas and corn too. Fill the pot. Remove the chicken meat from the wings. Throw that back in. Add a parmesan rind and a little tomato paste to boost flavor. Return to simmer to finish cooking the vegetables.
Your soup is now ready to heal, nourish, and propel you through the week. It’s gotten me through these last two weeks, filling me with vegetables and homemade goodness whether I want it or not.
- 1 pound of chicken wings
- 1 tablespoon of canola oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 ribs of celery
- 6 carrots, peeled and coarsely cut
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely cut
- ½ a cauliflower, coarsely chopped
- 1 chunk of parmesan rind
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary
- 2 sage leaves
- 8 cups of water (enough to fill the pot)
- Begin with flavorful chicken wings, browned in the stockpot to create delicious caramelized bits, over medium high heat.
- Scrape up all the browned bits. Add the chopped onion, 2 of the carrots, and the celery along with the tablespoon of oil. Add the fresh herbs. Sauté on low to soften and build flavor.
- Now comes the first long part, the making of the chicken soup base, simmered softly on the stove for an hour or two to fill the house with the smell of comfort. Add all the water to the chicken and mirepoix. Cook for an hour or two, until fragrant and beautifully colored.
- Once your stock is ready, remove the chicken wings and set aside. Add in all the rest of the veggies, whatever makes you happy. Use the veggies above as a guide, or substitute your own: Sweet potato. Cauliflower. Broccoli. Parsnips. I've done peas and corn too. Fill the pot.
- Add the two tablespoons of tomato paste. Stir well to mix.
- Remove the chicken meat from the wings. Throw that back in. Add a parmesan rind. Return to simmer to finish cooking the vegetables, about 45 minutes, until they are soft.
- Serve warm. This soup will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Freeze some in individual containers as insurance for dark days.