Peter and I have both been under the weather for a little bit, so I thought it would be a good idea to make some homemade 'chicken soup for the soul'. Some time ago, I learned about a study which found that, when compared to several other soups, chicken soup actually did help to expedite recovery from the common cold in the study's subjects. Now, this might mean nothing except that there could be a placebo effect associated with the 'healing powers' of chicken soup... but for now, placebo or not, I'm hoping this soup helps us get better soon!!
- 2 1/2 cups Chicken Meat, (preferably pulled from a whole cooked chicken)
- 1 Chicken skeleton and all remains (reserved from a whole cooked chicken)
- 2 tsp lemon pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Parsley
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning (Basil, Oregano, Marjoram, Thyme)
- 1/2 tsp each Cumin & Paprika
- 1 tsp of a general no-salt seasoning (includes citrus, dehydrated veggies, etc.)
- 3/4 tsp Cayenne (of course, you can do more or less as desired. I found that this amount was a good starting point because it produced just enough heat to give a wonderful hint that makes you ask, 'what is that secret ingredient?' ..but not so much that your mouth burns or anything.)
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 3 large celery sticks, chopped
- 1/2 onion, largely sliced
- 1/3 cup rice
**note: no added salt! :) (besides any that sneaks in with the chicken skeleton if you used salt when cooking the whole chicken)
Pull all the meat off of your whole chicken, and place all the remains of your chicken in a big pot... everything- bones, skin, and all! If you cooked your whole chicken with vegetables, add those too. If you didn't already cook it with veggies, throw in a few chunked onions and carrots to help season this broth. Then cover with water (about 8 cups).
Cover your pot and let boil for a couple hours over low heat. Maybe this is part of what makes homemade chicken soup so great when you're sick- it comes with a built-in nap! While the pot boils, seize the opportunity to take a nap and get some rest!
And when you wake up from your nap, voila!, it made its-self and your broth is ready! Just fit a separate pot with a strainer or steamer basket, and dump your big pot of broth through the strainer/steamer. This will separate all the chicken parts and bones and leave you with a beautiful pot of fresh, flavorful broth.
Now, take the chicken meat that you pulled off the whole chicken earlier, and add it into the chicken stock that you just made. Also add the fresh cut pieces of carrot and onion, and all the herbs & spices, then let it all boil together for about 10 minutes:
Then add the rice and the celery, then cover with a lid for about 8 minutes or so. I like to add the celery later because it doesn't take as long to cook as the other vegetables take. I like the celery to be slightly soft with just a little fresh crunch to it still. If you add celery earlier with everything else, it gets too soggy for my taste:
Garnish with a little Celery leaf :)