Drop Dead Awesome Chicken Soup with a Tico Twist...
My mother and
grandmother taught me to make an incredible, New York style, Jewish
chicken soup when I was a kid growing up in Miami. Now that
I'm a big boy, I have the opportunity to play with their recipe and
(kinda sorta) make it my own.
Living here in Costa Rica,
where damn near anything grows, I get to amp up Mom's soup with some
new spices like cumin, cilantro and red pepper. While
retaining the soup's New York roots, this new recipe gives it an
encouraging kick in the ass.
STEP #1 - GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS...
1 Pollo Grande (Large Chicken) -
Use one whole chicken or enough bone-in parts to equal at least
one chicken. Estimate 2 kilos (4 1/2 pounds)
3 medium Cebollas (Onions)
3 Grande Zanahorias (Carrots)
8 Apio (Celery stalks) trimmed
1 bunch Eneldo (Fresh Dill)
- See tip below
1 bunch Perejil Fresco (Fresh
Parsley) - See tip below
OPTIONAL Other Herbs: Basil,
2 tbs Sal (Salt)
2 tbs Caldo de Pollo (Chicken
bouillon) - I like the MAGGI Consomé de
1 tsp Pimienta roja molida
(Crushed Red Pepper)
1 tbs Comino (Cumin)
1/2 cup Cilantro (finely chopped)
OPTIONAL: 1 bag of dry pasta
(shells, curls etc.) 8.5 oz/250 gram
Place parsley and dill bunches together in cheese cloth and tie off
with string. This will release the flavors of the spices while
cooking and make removal from the broth very easy when the soup is
STEP #2 - MAKING YOUR BASIC BROTH...
Clean and rinse your chicken
removing all unnecessary fat
Using a large (mucho grande) soup
pot with lid, place chicken into the pot and fill with water so
that all of the chicken is completely covered by the water.
Personally, I like to add more water because that means I there
will be more soup!
Add 2 tbs of SALT
(preferably sea salt) and stir water to dissolve.
Heat on high until water boils,
then lower to medium heat.
After a few minutes, a white foam
begins to appear. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the
foamy scum until it is gone or until the foam stops appearing.
ADD BAG OF FRESH HERBS & SPICES
Cover the pot. Reduce heat to
low. Let it simmer for about 90 minutes.
STEP #3 - TURNING BROTH INTO KICK ASS SOUP...
After the chicken has cooked for
90 minutes, remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside in
a bowl. After sitting a few minutes, return any soup which may have
drained into the bowl back into the soup pot.
Place chicken in refrigerator for
about 30 minutes and let it cool.
Remove bag of spices and set
aside. This will be returned to the soup pot shortly after
the broth has been cleaned.
Using a second large soup pot and
a fine strainer, pour the broth contents from one pot into
another removing any chicken pieces which may remain in the soup
pot. I know it makes more of a mess but Fran says if I
cook, she cleans.
Add the following to the chicken
stock: chicken bouillon and cumin. Whisk it
until it the spices are completely dissolved.
Add the chopped veggies (onions,
carrots, cilantro and celery) and red pepper
to the stock and bring to a boil.
As soon as it boils, cover pot,
reduce heat and simmer for another 90 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, take
your cooled down chicken from the refrigerator and remove all
usable chicken from the bones. Discard the waste.
After the chicken and vegetables
are cooked, remove and discard the bag of spices
(parsley and dill).
Now the ideal situation is to let
the soup cool overnight in the refrigerator so you can skim
any remaining fat. But if you are
really "jonesing" for some great soup, go ahead and have a bowl now.
after you have a bowl, follow the rest of these
instructions. You'll be glad you did!
STEP #4 - THE FINAL STEPS - THIS REQUIRES PATIENCE
Remove veggies and place them in
Return any liquid from the veggie
bowl back to the soup pot. Refrigerate cooked veggies.
Place the pot of clear soup in the
refrigerator and let it stand 18-24 hours.
After refrigeration, remove the
soup pot and skim off any congealed fat which has floated to the
Add the veggies and the chicken
back to the stock. Use as much or as little of the
chicken as you desire. I usually use half the chicken for
the soup and the remaining half to make quesadillas or chicken
OPTION: Prepare pasta. Cook
pasta till it is almost done (just a slight hint of uncooked
pasta in the center). Drain and add pasta to your soup.
That’s all there is. Since there
are only two of us here, I freeze the soup (with veggies,
chicken and pasta) into smaller size containers for quick and
simple meal whenever the urge hits us!