I am a Jewish mother. (Meaning, I am Jewish and I am a mother. Not all that other stuff.) When my kids or husband get sick, they know the one thing in the world that will make them feel at least a little better is my chicken soup. (It has also helped them through heartache, stress and many other ails of life). But what happens when I get sick?
I’ve got it covered: I married a chef. He claims some Jewish lineage (it’s on his father’s side, so pshaw), but the soup clearly shows he is more chef than Jew. Which is why when I get sick, I get deep, rich, roasted and oh-so-soothing chicken soup. It is stock, really– sipping, drinking, curative caramel-colored stock. And in truth, it is far more regal than my peasant chicken soup. Not better, not worse, just more elegant.
And I should warn you: don’t attempt to make this soup in anything less than a day. It is a five hour cooking process, and anything less just won’t give you the same rich, heady result.
Of course, should you happen to be done-in by the flu and all kinds of ear and sinus and larynx infections (I think even my toes must be infected by now), then the aromas of all this roasting and simmering whilst lying abed, moaning and aching and pining away, might just give you the strength to shuffle downstairs and beg for the process to be hastened. And you might then be told, in no uncertain terms, that you can’t hurry stock.
David’s Roasted Chicken Soup
9 pounds chicken backs
7 celery stalks, cut in 1-inch pieces
6 carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces
4 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch, or about 15 sprigs, parsley (stems included)
8 sprigs fresh thyme
20 whole peppercorns
3 bay leaves
5 1/2 quarts water
- Preheat the oven to 450F. Arrange chicken back on 2 large shallow baking sheet pans. Coat a third sheet pan with cooking spray. Toss celery, carrots, onion, and olive oil together; spread on the coated sheet pan. Place all in the oven; roast the vegetables until lightly browned and crisp-tender; about 35 minutes. Transfer to the soup pot and let it stand, off the heat, while the chicken finishes cooking. Roast the chicken another 10 minutes (for a total of 45 minutes) until well-browned.
- Add the chicken to the pot. Pour the fat off the sheet pans and add a little water to each. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits on the pan and pour those and the pan juices into the pot. Add the parsley, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and gently simmer, uncovered, 4 hours. Strain stock through a colander and/or metal strainer; discard the solids.
- Cool stock to room temperature; cover and refrigerate 4-5 hours. Skim fat from surface.
Makes 18-20 cups