This morning I awoke to brilliant blue skies and delicate hoar frost. Inspired, I took a few pictures and then promptly ran back inside to warm up. Despite the fact that northern winters are frigid, they are exceptionally beautiful and mornings with hoar frost are no exception!
The last few weeks have been filled with travel and chaos for me, so in order to slow down and really appreciate the beautiful, peaceful day that I had in front of me I thought I would do one of my most favourite activities: cooking! And what better to make on a cold day but a steaming bowl of mama’s chicken soup, of course. My mom’s recipe is the very best one that I have found and given the opportunity, I think that you might love it too.
Here are the basics:
1 whole chicken
a bunch of carrots
a handful of celery
salt & pepper
I used to make this in a crock pot, but sauteing the onions first yields a much more delicious flavour. I heat the olive oil in a large stock pot first. I add the roughly chopped onion, celery, and carrots and let them sizzle. When the onions are translucent I throw that whole chicken in the pot and cover it with water. I bring it to a boil, then let it simmer until the chicken falls apart.
Once the chicken is ready, I strain the fresh broth out of the pot and set that aside. I take the meat off the bones and set that aside as well. Once I am a real pioneer I will use the mushy veggies, bones and skin for something sophisticated but until that time comes I discard it…
Now, back to the stove. I drizzle the pot with a bit of olive oil and add finely chopped shallots and roughly chopped celery and carrots.
I let these mingle and soften on medium heat before adding the broth and chicken pieces in. This ensures that my soup has the fresh crunch of veggies that aren’t overcooked. Once the broth is in, I add a considerable amount of salt and pepper (and whichever spices seem to fit my mood at the time) to flavour the broth. A person really could stop there and sit down to enjoy some tasty soup. But not me, at this point I like to add any other vegetables I have. Today they happened to be spinach and cabbage. Finally, my mom’s big secret was the cilantro.
I sprinkle a healthy serving into my personal serving and maybe a dash of sriacha if I am feeling particularly daring. Enjoy!