My lil' friend, Kate, wiped out while sledding down the street, breaking her lil' nose into what appeared to be a very bad jigsaw puzzle. After her surgery to fix her lil' nose, I thought she could use some comfort. Chicken noodle soup. Who doesn't love it? It's comfort food of the God's, If it's prepared with love, and lots of flavor. Unfortunately, too many chicken soup recipes fall flat, using over boiled chicken and vegetables, and noodles that disintegrate into a gloppy mess. No longer. Get your hand/arm protection on. (That sizzling chicken will burn your forearms, if you get too close).
It's time to make chicken soup.
It's time to make chicken soup.
Get yourself a good, enameled, cast iron Dutch oven. 6 1/2 U.S. quarts.
The best $38.00 I've ever spent. (Sam's).
Now, prep the veg. You'll need 2 leeks, 1 onion, 4 carrots, 4 celery stalks, (with leaves. The inner stalks are the most tender, and have the most flavor).
1 red bell pepper, and about 6 cloves of garlic.
Now, take your carrots and chop them up. Slice them in half horizontally. Then, cut down the middle vertically, creating halves. Make one more vertical slice so the carrot half is now in 4 pieces.
Flip the carrots over so the flat sides are down. This keeps them from running all over the cutting board while you dice them up.
Now, prep the leeks. Slice off the thick, dark green leaves. Then, slice them in half, vertically.
After soaking them in cold water, then rinsing under a faucet to get the sand out, dry them and slice horizontally into bite size pieces. Be sure to remove any existing tough green leaves.
Put them on your clean cutting board, next to the onions and carrots.
The longest to cook goes into the pan first (carrots), and ending with what takes the least amount of time (garlic).
Cut the onion in half, stem to root. Then peel off the papery skin.
Place the sliced half down on the cutting board and make two horizontal slices through it.
Now, make several vertical slices, from root to tip. Hold the onion together with your hand.
Turn the onion around so your knife is perpindicular to the vertical cuts. Slice into bite size, or smaller, pieces. Put them on your veg board.
Dice up the red pepper. Cut it in half, stem to root.
Use a paring knife to remove the seeds and white pith.
Then slice it into slices.
Then chop it into bite size pieces. Put it on the veg board.
Now, you're ready to cook. The leeks are on a separate board. No more room on this one.
Drizzle some Extra Light olive oil in your pot. Heat on med/high heat.
Place 6 chicken thighs, seasoned with salt and pepper, skin side down, into pot with hot olive oil. There are only 4 in this pic because I cooked 2 more while making stock.
Let these cook on med/high heat at least 6-8 minutes. If you try to turn the thighs over, but they are stuck to the pan, leave them alone for a few minutes. When you are able to turn the chicken easily, do so. The point at which the chicken skin releases from the cast iron is exactly where you want to be. It's all about a chemical reaction. I won't delve into it here, but let me know if you need the science behind the dish. (Arthur, feel free to provide the science).Turn the chicken over in the pan. Let it sear for about 30 seconds. Remove the chicken from the skillet onto a plate lined with paper towels.
Let the chicken cool on a wad of paper towels.
This is the beautiful goodness rendered from the chicken thighs and olive oil. We will capture all of the flavor left behind.
Heat the pot to med/high. Whisk in 1/2 cup white wine. Scrape all the sides of the pan with the whisk.
The pot should look like this: Clean on the sides. Brown liquid in the center.
When the sides of the pot are clean, pour the liquid into a glass measuring cup.