Dianne’s chicken soup

January 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

My friend Dianne invited me over for lunch recently.  It was chicken soup that she’d simmered for hours, a beautiful salad prepared the very best way (crunchy, with those little tomatoes that pop in your mouth), a crisp dry white wine, and for dessert…snappy little ginger cookies.  The food was healthy, beautiful, and delicious, but just as good was the tour of Dianne’s new home.  Her last house was destroyed in Hurricane Ike, and she and her husband were fortunately able to rebuild on the same site.

Dianne’s new home is perfectly designed (a washer/dryer in the Master closet, which is EXACTLY what Dave and I have been wanting for years), a large main living area, and no formal dining room (a formal dining room is the most useless room in an entire house, if you ask me).  And the kitchen…the kitchen was wonderful.  It was part of the main living area, and outfitted with white cabinetry, subway tile, double refrigerator units, a large gas cooktop, built-in microwave, built-in trash container, lots of storage with plenty of very strong and deep drawers for hiding everything.  There were also two granite-topped islands, a big deep stainless sink, and open shelving along one wall for glasses.  The kitchen, like the rest of the house, was floored in luxurious planked hardwood, with a dark stain and and a beautiful grain.  Adjacent to the kitchen was a dining area with a large table (which seats 12) with those industrial looking metal chairs that I have been in love with ever since I saw them in the Home Decorator’s catalog.  They were pretty comfortable, too.

I felt as if I was in a Martha Stewart photo shoot, but this was better, because I got to eat Dianne’s soup…which she gave me the recipe for…which she said I could share with you here.  And by the way…do not forget the lemon.  Dianne says that the lemon really makes the meal, and I certainly agree.  In fact, Dave, who says he “hates” lemon misses it when I forget to spritz it on important things like soup.  It brightens the flavor somehow.

Dianne’s chicken soup

1 whole chicken (giblets removed)

2 onions

4-6 ribs celery

Water

2 carrots, peeled and sliced (or a handful of baby carrots, sliced)

2 potatoes, peeled and diced (optional)

1 lemon, cut into wedges

Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the chicken in a stockpot.  Cut one of the onions into large pieces and add to the pot, along with 2-3 ribs of the celery, also cut into large pieces.   Add water to cover.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat; simmer until chicken is cooked through, and the meat falls off the bone (about 1 to 1-1/2 hours).  Remove pot from heat, and allow to cool.

Remove chicken from broth, reserving cooking liquid.  Separate meat from the bones and skin, shredding the meat and placing in a large plastic bag or covered bowl.  Place the chicken meat in the refrigerator overnight.  Strain the chicken broth and return it to the pan.  Cover, and place broth in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, skim off the solidified chicken fat that has risen to the top of the broth.   Place pot with the broth on the top of the stove and bring to a gentle simmer.  Add 1 chopped onion, the remaining celery (chopped), carrots, the diced potato (if desired), and salt and pepper to taste.  When vegetables are almost cooked through, return the chicken meat to the pan.  Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until chicken is heated through and vegetables are completely cooked through.  Adjust seasonings.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro, and wedges of fresh lemon.

Serves 8-10.

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