December 23, 2011

Chicken Soup

For a family dinner a while back I roasted a large chicken. I had asked the butcher to flatten it for me, mainly to lessen the cooking time (it cuts the time to almost half). A downside to being new with meat is that I have no idea on portion or serving size. This chicken was huge! We had plenty not just for dinner and leftovers, but probably enough for the week or more. After days of chicken with veggies or on sandwiches, we’d had enough.

The cold weather convinced me to make chicken soup. My mom had rarely made soup from scratch, but my grandmothers always did. I prefer making my own soup because I know what’s in it. Plus it doesn’t take as long as people think. The most consuming part is chopping everything, but while the soup is cooking, you can do what you want.

I had copied a few recipes from Ahern’s book Gluten-Free Girl and one was for chicken stock. Whatever was in the fridge went in – tonnes of veggies and some rice that everyone was also sick of. And because the chicken had already been roasted I added a gf stock cube fearing there would be no flavour. Another upside of using leftover chicken is that all the natural fat was solidified sitting in the roasting pan, meaning there wasn’t any to skim off the top.

At first I stirred the soup often, impressed by my first meaty soup. Then I left it alone. When I returned to the kitchen an hour later the aroma was amazing. It was one of the most delicious smells I’ve ever experienced. Then the realization hit and tears came to my eyes. It smelled like my Babcia’s kitchen. I hadn’t smelled anything like it since I was 8 years old. In adjusting Ahern’s stock recipe I inadvertently made my Babcia’s chicken soup. She’d be proud of me, but also wonder why it took me so long to make it.

In finishing it up I poured everything through a colander and into a large bowl. It seemed a shame to throw out all the meat afterwards so I pulled it off the bones, chopped it up and put it back into the pot. As I fingered the bones, the legs, wings, then the vertebrae I was reminded again that my meal was once alive. Again tears came to my eyes with this realization. This was my new reality. It was something I continue to be aware of and need to remember. It was just taking me some time to adjust. 


Post a Comment