Yesterday I woke up at 7 a.m. and broke down a chicken. My husband and son are recovering from a bout of the sniffles (NOT SWINE FLU, THANKS) so I wanted to make a big batch of chicken soup to fortify their souls. I needed to get it going before my son woke up and demanded my full attention, so I was in the kitchen bright and early, shoving my hands up a chicken, slicing it apart, and starting a big pot of stock.
Because I'm a huge weirdo about leaving things on my stove when I'm not home (I even called my mom the first time I used a crock pot to verify that it was REALLY OKAY to leave it plugged it when you leave the house. Duh, that's the whole point.) and because I find myself having to constantly adjust the temperature on my stupid range to keep my stock from bubbling too much, I sat around the house with my son yesterday for like 4 straight hours while I made stock. I drained it and chilled it around lunch time, and made myself a snack.
So, everyone knows I'm trying to be more health conscious and blah blah. I'm still in the process of losing all my 'baby weight' (or maybe should I call it "daily milkshake binge" weight, because let's be honest- Eli didn't hold me down and force feed me all that Mike's Drive-in while I was pregnant) and I get really bored eating the same crap all the time. I first got the idea to start snacking on sardines from The 10 Cent Designer, and as it weaseled its way into my noggin, I started picking up tidbits here and there about how sardines were like, the only sustainable seafood, and how they don't have a bunch of mercury and blah blah blah. Awesome! I don't particularly like canned tuna, and I'm freaked out by all the warnings about mothers/children consuming too much, so I like that I can sit and polish off a tin of sardines without DAMAGING MY BRAINZ.
But, I'm also broke-ass. Student loans: NOT A GOOD IDEA. Just sayin. So, tins of sardines are the logical choice for someone who wants to enjoy the health benefits of those lovely omega-3's, not melt their brains with mercury poisoning, and only spend like 2 bucks. I bought this package of Moroccan sardines packed in olive oil at (duh) Trader Joe's for less than 2 dollars (I think. Maybe they were 2.50, I don't know.) and they were pretty tasty. I guess I have no idea what canned sardines are supposed to taste like, but I keep hearing horror stories of fishy little bites packed in slimy tomato sauce or whatever, so I guess I lucked out for my first try.
All I did was mash them up and throw them on top of a green salad- not very creative, I know. A friend of mine told me, "Try making a fennel slaw with some heat to it and putting the slaw and sardines on a soft roll." which is exactly what I plan to do next week when I go grocery shopping again.
Oh, but wait! I still have soup to make! So anyway, after lunch I had to run out for parsley (and I just needed to get the hell out after the whole 4-hour stock wait) so I did. Then I got home and realized I only had 1 tiny carrot, so I ran back out for carrots. Then I started the soup!
If you've invested enough time in this post to get to this point, I guess I should reward you with some kind of recipe, but let's be honest- I put like 10 hours of my day into this soup. Unless you're a stay at home mom with no life like I am, I don't expect the same level of commitment out of you. Go ahead and use store-bought stock, or make some in advance, I don't care.
For my sick family, I knew I wanted a traditional, don't-screw-around chicken soup. All that went into it was fresh homemade stock, 3 small carrots, 3 celery stalks, 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, a handful of chopped parsley, and 2 chicken legs. I sauteed the vegetables, added hot stock, let it simmer for a few minutes, and then added 2 whole chicken legs (bone-in) with most of the skin removed and let it simmer on low heat. After the legs were cooked through (about half an hour later) I pulled them out, shredded the meat off the bone, and added it back into the soup. I seasoned it with salt and pepper, and served it to my family with wheat toast and butter.
I don't think I need to tell you that it really fit the bill for MOST PERFECT CHICKEN SOUP EVER. Maybe it was just that I devoted my whole day to it, maybe it was the quality of the ingredients, but it was hella good and I think it helped everyone's immune systems tackle this bug that's going around. I'm going to eat the leftovers today for lunch with a grilled cheese sandwich.