Kids Love to Make Soup

Wintertime and soup just go together. A nice bowl of steaming soup to warm and nourish you is perfect on a cold day. Good soup begins with homemade stock. We have found that kids of all ages love the process of making soup. They get to use knives a lot (which they love!) and soup allows you some creativity with ingredients. Have fun!

Stock and Broth:

What is the difference between a stock and a broth? Stock is made from simmering vegetables, meat or fish, mostly the bones with little flesh, in water and straining. With a browned stock, the vegetables or meat are browned first. When you simmer just the bones from meat, the subsequent stock has more gelee, the jelly-like substance you’ll see when the stock has cooled, which binds nicely when making sauces. With broth, more meat is used, so the broth is generally richer than stocks and ready to use as is. Most home cooks, we have discovered do not want to spend the time making broths and stocks, so this recipe is more like a broth because you’ll use the whole chicken, which you can then use for something else. We never add sea salt to stock or broth as it reduces slightly and can become too salty. Salt the broth, if necessary, after you make your soup or sauce.

Perhaps we should call it Brock?

Chicken Stock

Makes: 2 quart

1 whole free range chicken, about 3 1/2 lbs, rinsed, giblets discarded

2 whole carrots, cut in large chunks

3 stalks celery, cut in large chunks

1 medium white onion, quartered

1 small potato, halved

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 whole bay leaf

6 sprigs parsley

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 4 quarts). Add the thyme, bay leaves, parsley and peppercorns and allow it to slowly come to a boil.

Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that come to the surface.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When it is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand shred the meat into a storage container.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids and peppercorns. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

Vegetable Broth

Makes: 2 quarts

4 quarts water

2 medium onions, coarsely chopped

1 medium potato, or parsnip, optional

3 large carrots, cut into chunks

4 ribs celery, with tops, cut into chunks

2 whole bay leaves

1/2 cup parsley, stems and leaves

2 sprigs thyme, about 1 tablespoon

2 inches seaweed, such as Kombu

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

In a large pot, place the vegetables and the cold water.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, add herbs and simmer (partly covered) for 60 minutes

Allow to cool, strain and put in containers. You may keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze.

For a richer flavor you may roast the vegetables in a bit of olive oil in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes before you simmer with water and herbs if you like.

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Noodles

Serves 4

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 Cloves garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2″ thick slices

2 ribs celery, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2″ thick slices

1 cup broccoli, cut into small pieces

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 1/2 quarts chicken broth

4 ounces dried wide egg noodles

1 whole bay leaf

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

1 large tomato, chopped

1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems removed, finely chopped

Sea salt and pepper

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, broccoli, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken broth and bring the liquid to a boil.

Add the noodles and let simmer for about 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken and fresh tomatoes and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Variations for eating seasonally:

Spring: Peas, asparagus, beet greens, carrots, celery, collard greens, chives, parsley, green garlic

Summer: Tomatoes, green beans, corn, red pepper (not too much,) summer squashes, basil

Autumn: Potatoes, corn, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, broccoli, pumpkin, shallots, turnips, parsnips

Winter: Broccoli, cabbage, chard, kale, parsnips, winter squashes, turnips, yams


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