Sunday, April 20, 2008

Grubbin' with Fuzzy: Chicken Soup

This is something I wanted to try for a while. The Goal: To make soup using primarily Water and Raw Chicken (with, of course, the usual veggie and herb flavorings). Use of Boulion: -2 points. Using prepackaged broth: failure. So I looked around the Intarwebs for several recipies to use as a guide. Here's the recurring items I found most often:
  • Simmer a whole chicken in water for a long time to extract the deliciousness trapped within.
  • Veggies: the combination called mire poix (mEEr' - pwah) which is approximately a 2:1:1 ratio of onion, carrot, and celery.
  • Herb flavorings consist of all or most of the Scarbourogh Faire suite: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme. (note: one of my cullinary heroes, Alton Brown, does not use rosemary due to the "woody flavor it gives off. Whatever that means.)
  • Some recipies eschew having actual chicken meat in the soup becuase their broth is flavorful enough. +2 points if I could pull that one off.

Hmm... simmering at a low tempature for long hours. I decided to employ the use of a slow cooker. I began buy putting some chicken quarters into the crock, along with two broken carrots and two stalks celery and a chopped onion. My dad used to chop these all thin and serve them in the soup, while most recipies I found discarded them after all the flavor got boiled out of them. I didn't feel like chopping, so they went in mostly whole.

I covered this all with water, turned the heat on low at about 11AM, and began the waiting game. After about 4PM, I had hot water that vaugely tasted of chicken, but was hard to tell that. After exchanging thoughts with my sister via IM, she informed me that the recipie she know would let that mess go for 12 hours or more. That's a long time for meat flavored water, especially when an easy alternitive awaits sealed away in a can.

So at about 11pm, I finially took another taste. Still kinda bland, as if it wanted to be broth, but couldn't quite cut it. I finally admitted this wasn't going as well as I wanted it to, and tossed in a few boulion cubes (-2 points!) and tasted it again. I think that helped, especially the salt. I extracted the chicken which was set aside. Now the vegtables I decided to taste to see if they would really be flavorless as was claimed. They were. Serisouly, there was nothing left after being in the soup for that long.

After tossing in some parsley and sage, I added some eggnoodles (rosemary and thyme would have to wait another day). While that cooked for a little bit longer, I shredded the chicken and added it in. I think between the herbs and the salt, I ended up with an edible product, making this a modest success.

So, the money question is: Was it worth the time and effort? I'd have to say... Meh. I mean it was good, but not good enough to justify the time or effort, on this chart, hommade chicken soup would be plotted juuust south of the pineapple; somewhat tasty, but too much work. (note: the positions of the fruit on this chart does not reflect the views of Fuzzy Goes West. I mean just LOOK at where he stuck the orange!)

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