We arrived home from sunny LA in the midst of a snowstorm. #WelcomeHome
I hid inside most of today, until I could no longer deny there was nothing to eat for supper. I bundled mister Z and as soon as the stroller hit the sidewalk I knew I needed something to warm my soul.
I was running a little behind schedule (of course). Just back from the grocery with little more than the ingredients for this soup, and the guacamole I’m planning for mister Z’s birthday party this weekend, he needed a nap. Dinner needed to be ready in an hour and a half.
Soup is a tricky proposal with so little time, but I have a special skill for ignoring time constraints.
I quickly filled a pot with some water to start (why does our awesome filter seem to be so slow in moments like these?!?) dropped in a whole chicken, and popped it on the stove. More filtered water collected in a bottle in the sink while I coaxed Z out of his coat/hat/mittens/shoes. I dumped the water into the pot, gave him a quick peek at what was in the works, and then whisked him into his room for a quick pre-nap cuddle. Luckily he succumbed to sleep with no resistance.
Back in the kitchen I threw the garlic in with the chicken first, followed by 2 big onions. Next was a head of celery because I thought it would do the most for flavor of the stock.
Carrots were scrubbed & chopped after that so they would have plenty of time to get tender. I buy organic carrots and leave the skin on – I hear it adds fiber, plus it saves me having to peel them. Speaking of saving time, since I’m usually trying to prep in a hurry, I like to chop my veggies in big bunches like this:
Works best for long thin veggies like carrots, celery, green beans, zucchini, etc.
At this point, my inspiration (my mom’s chicken soup recipe) would be complete, but I like to overdo it and we haven’t even gotten to the title ingredients yet! After the carrots I threw in 2 poblano peppers. Italian peppers would work if you can’t find poblanos. You can do a similar time saving trick here by cutting them in quarters and then stacking them to chop all together:
Once the peppers were in I cored and chopped a good sized head of fennel, fronds included. The store had already chopped them back some, so it was probably 5-7′ worth of stalk & fronds on top of the head itself. Don’t discard these, they’re perfect for soup!!
Finally, I peeled and chopped some ginger for a little added flavor. I find that big chunks have a more subtle impact. If I was going for a big ginger taste I would have minced them. (to be honest, in the end I was wishing for a little more ginger zing, and next time I’ll either add more or mince).
At this point I let it simmer, stirring occasionally, and visited with our guests.
When the chicken was beginning to fall off the bone I chopped a small zucchini and added that. Zman was up from the nap, had surveyed my work, and my guests, who had a flight to catch, were eyeing the simmering pot. 7:45. I stalled with my new favorite citrus, kumquats, and some lovely cheese on gluten free crisps. I got the crisps on the road in CA, they were sooooo good, but I threw away the package before we left without noting the brand! boo.
M arrived just before 8 with the cilantro I’d forgotten and I chopped most of the bunch and added that too. By then I was stirring the pot rather aggressively, to er, assist with the falling off the bone process. This is why you shouldn’t rush soup. Luckily the flight was delayed, and mister Z is still on CA time, so an extra 15 minutes was stollen without much notice. (plus that cheese was really good).
Soup was dished at 8:15 to rave reviews, a slightly rushed 2 hours from the beginning of the process. It was the perfect end to a long winter’s day. Our guests made it to their flight on time, with full bellies and full hearts. #WelcomeHome #BonVoyage
Fennel & Ginger Chicken Soup Recipe
When it comes to soup, I usually just throw in what I have on hand that looks good, but in case you’d like something a little more official, here you go!
- 1 Whole Roaster Chicken (ideally from a local farmer!)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 large onions
- 1 head celery (ideally organic)
- 5 good sized carrots (organic if you’re going to scrub instead of peel)
- 2 poblano peppers
- 1 large head of fennel, stalks and fronds included
- medium ginger root (mine was about 2 1/2 inches)
- 1 zucchini
- 1 small bunch cilantro
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Fill soup pot with filtered water & add roaster chicken, whole
- Chop & add remaining ingredients in the order of list, saving zucchini & cilantro to add about 25 minutes before you’re ready to serve.
- Simmer & stir occasionally until chicken falls off the bone
- Squeeze in fresh lime juice as you fill each bowl