Recipe: Holy Grail Chicken Soup

“Holy Grail” should be an extremely rare title to give something, but this chicken soup recipe really deserves it.  I’ve made chicken soup numerous times before but have never tasted one quite so rich and full bodied as this one.  I took Bobby Flay’s recipe for making chicken stock from scratch by first roasting the chicken bones and used it for the base of my chicken noodle soup recipe that has been improved over the years by trial and error.  In this recipe I used mirin, a japanese white wine that is similar to sake.  It adds a subtle complexity to the dish that makes such a difference!  Using whole grain pasta instead of your traditional egg noodles is a super important modification too because the pasta continues to absorb the liquid once it’s finished cooking and I find that egg noodle gets soggy and gummy while whole grain pastas tend to hold up a firmer consistency over time.

So for this recipe you’ll need:  3-4 lbs chicken bones (store bought cut up chicken backs with exposed bone marrow), 3 carrots chopped into 1 inch pieces, 3 large spanish onions quartered with skin on, 4 sticks of celery chopped into 1 inch pieces, 4 bay leaves, a whole 3 .lbs organic chicken, one bunch parsley stems only saving the parsley leaves for garnish, 1 cup whole grain elbow pasta or 2 cups of cooked white rice, fresh thyme, 3 T olive oil, 1 T mirin, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

First prepare the stock a la Bobby Flay. I modified this recipe by simmering the stock with lid on for 6 hours instead of 4 and starting off with 16 cups of water instead of 12, and using 4 bay leaves instead of 2.  For the last two hours of simmering you can remove the lid to reduce the stock by about 25%, concentrating the flavors.

Once the stock is done, separate out enough stock to cover the whole chicken completely in a large pot.  Bring to boil on high heat, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Then remove the chicken from the stock and add the remaining 1 carrot and 1 cup of whole grain elbow pasta (or you could use 2 cups of cooked white rice after the carrots are cooked through).  Let the carrots and pasta cook on very low heat until both are softened, about 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, with your hands roughly pull off chicken meat from the whole chicken and add it to the soup at the very end.  Add 1 tablespoon of mirin, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Be generous with the salt and pepper!

And that is it!  If you’re getting over the flu like me, make this!  You won’t regret it.  You can save the leftovers by freezing it in small containers for up to 3 months.  Enjoy!