Monday, March 30, 2015

Clear and Convincing Chicken Soup

Sunday - Sleep late ... yes, indeed, it's Sunday!  Relaxing at home with my best boys while slow-cooking chicken and soup for my two-day colonoscopy diet. Listening to the news, as former military commanders and diplomats decry the pending agreement with Iran.  It's actually a treaty, but the President says it's not a treaty, so he does not have to get Congress' approval.  This is what we call being "disingenuous" which describes the entire Obama presidency.  Watching Cooking Channel and drooling over ... well, just about everything, except for those jalapeño bagels from West Virginia.  Doing more research on cruises to Alaska.

The clear chicken soup came out perfectly - rich, very chicken-y, with an undertone of dill and the slightest touch of lemon.  These are flavors I look for in a Jewish chicken soup, and if I didn't have to stick with a liquid diet tomorrow, I'd be whipping up a batch of knaidlach, also known as matzo balls.  Very appropriate for this pre-Pesach week.  One thing I did do was to chop up the cooked chicken breasts (except for a very small piece I ate with my rutabaga potato puree for dinner tonight), and I made chicken salad.  No celery, no onion, no apple, nothing but Hellman's mayonnaise.

Since 6:30 this evening, I have been working on finishing a 10 oz. bottle of magnesium citrate.  It does not taste as bad as I remember it tasting the last time I had it, which was the night before my gastric bypass surgery.  Still, it is causing an unpleasant heartburn and, try as I might, it is taking me two hours to get the whole thing down.  Woody and Anakin are keeping me company during the whole ordeal, with Woody letting out groans of sympathy for his "Memmy."

The soup recipe may sound a little strange, but it works, so just follow my lead.  Don't put the dill or lemon in ahead of time. The recipe was inspired by one I found on Food Network, but I made some major changes, as you will see.  I used my 3 1/2 quart crockpot and there was more than enough room.

Clear and Convincing Chicken Soup

2 - 32 oz. boxes unsalted chicken stock
2 medium carrots, cut in half lengthwise
2 medium parsnips, cut in half lengthwise
2 stalks of celery (no leaves), cut in half crosswise
4 green onions, cut in half crosswise
1 - 2 x 1/2 inch piece of rind from Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder (don't leave it out, although it is virtually undetectable)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
3 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1/4 inch slice of lemon
5 or 6 stalks of fresh Italian parsley
2 nice full stalks of fresh dill

In the crockpot, put all of the chicken stock, the carrots, parsnips, celery, green onions, Parmesan rind, curry powder, kosher salt and white pepper.  Cover the crock and cook on High for 1 hour.  Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 more hours.  Don't freak if a deep golden film has risen to the surface; I am guessing it had something to do with the Parmesan rind, which still had a bit of cheese attached to it.  Now add the parsley, dill, and lemon and cook for one more hour.  Shut off the heat and use a large metal spoon to remove the parsley, dill, and any of the golden cheese stuff that might be clinging to it.  Remove the lemon slice and the Parmesan rind, and discard with the parsley and dill.

With a slotted spoon, carefully remove the vegetables and the chicken.  Strain the soup through double paper towels set into a wire strainer.  Serve the soup on its own, or with the vegetables and chicken added back, or with the aforementioned knaidlach.  The vegetables are also good on their own; cooked this way, they are not soggy and retain their individual flavor.

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