After I wrote about my latest unsuccessful venture making good chicken soup, my friend Venera sent me her fool-proof/picky-eater-approved recipe. She says she's happy to share her recipe and technique here. I am glad!
Venera is a really good cook. She made an artichoke and potato dish for a school potluck that I've been daydreaming about for the last year. But on to the chicken soup...
As for what I did wrong in the first place, she thinks I used too big of a pot. She thinks I should have used one half this size and allowed the chicken to peek above the broth at the top of the smaller pot. In hindsight, I understand the logic here. The big pot made me cook everything too long and too hard, and taste suffered.
Venera's Chicken Soup
1 parsnip, 1 rutabaga, possibly some ginger, 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 stalks celery, 2 carrots, handful of peppercorns, parsley, bay leaf, one leek (but not necessary), sea salt and 1 free range chicken (foster farm chickens just don't make this soup taste good). Cover the vegetables with water and the very top of the chicken should peep out of the water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1.5 hour. And that's it. Strain, cook some orzo or whatever pasta you like and serve with some of the carrots and chicken. I skim the fat off the top of the soup.
To make the soup extra special, instead of adding pieces of chicken, roll up some baby meatballs and add those to the soup and always add Romano cheese to everyone's bowl for extra tastiness.
Also, she says, "One trick I learned too was to take salt and rub the chicken inside and out with salt and let it sit for a few minutes and wash the chicken before putting it in the pot. Any toxins from the chicken are cleaned off."
She says she makes this once a week, and it ends up working for two or three meals during the week. The next day she uses some of the broth to make a thicker gravy for some of the extra chicken meat she's saved. Even the pickiest eater in her family eats this with pleasure.
I'm inspired. I will try again. Thank you, Venera.