Chicken Soup

Making chicken soup from scratch is a long string of delayed gratification. It’s not just that there’s a lot of waiting, but also that there are so many stages of the process. This accounts, I think, for my enthusiasm for making soup. There are days of anticipation. First I have to salt the chicken, leaving the chicken to soak up the salt overnight. The next day I roast it, and if I’m feeling particularly impatient and productive, I begin simmering the stock in the same day. More likely it won’t be until the carcass is mostly picked off a day or two after I roast it that the stock is begun. Once the stock has finished simmering (usually I leave it overnight), finally soup can begin.

The above is a simplification of what’s involved of course. Before roasting the chicken really should be dried out a bit in the interest of crispy skin, although honestly I don’t often bother. Before making stock the carcass should be stripped of most of the good meat (but not all), which is at once satisfying and daunting (despite the fact that it takes less than ten minutes). After the carcass has simmered with flavoring vegetables, the stock must be strained and possibly skimmed. And of course the contents of the soup itself must be cooked and seasoned.

This time it was rice, carrots, and leeks. Planning and preparing the ingredients is for me a form of utopianism: “yes, this will be perfect in the soup.” And the soup I imagine will save any lack of care, binding everything together into a hot selfsame liquid. To reverse the sense of a Woosterism, once it’s in the soup, it’ll be spiffing.

At the end of all this the soup is--well it’s okay.

9 December 2010

Simmering stock fromchicken carcass and vegetablescraps that I've frozen over the past few weeks.

The stock is somewhat cloudy because I misguidedly used potato skins.