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Boiling up a pot of stock and a chicken carcass, stripped of meat.

Close up view of boiling bones and stock - looks like Hot and Sour soup. Yum.

Now that the bones have been boiled, you strain out the thick chicken juice from the gristle and remaining whole bone parts. You can see the chicken carcass has been reduced to a pile of bits - the marrow, some of the cartelidge, much of the deeply funky stuff has been leeched out with heat and now suffuses the broth below.

After the vegetables, then the noodles and meat have been added, this is the delicious hearty final result.

A closer view of my chicken soup dream.

A textural view of the chicken soup. Somehow the way I make it, no matter how much stock I start with, I always end up with more of a stew than a soup - there's not much excess broth involved.

Chicken Noodle Soup

based on Barbara Kafka's grandmother's recipe.

Get a chicken. A whole chicken. Try to shoot for 5 pounds. I usually end up with around 3.5 pounds when I get a nice natural chicken from a healthy-type grocery store.

If it's been cooked already (preferably roasted) strip off the (remaining) meat. Cover the carcass and giblets with either 12 cups of water or 8 cups of canned stock.

If you haven't cooked the meat ahead of time, cook the meat on the chicken for 30 minutes or so. Take the whole thing out, strip all the meat off, and return the chicken bones and etc. to the pot.

Cook that mother for at least 3 hours. If you can cook it longer, go for it. Keep the flame low. I've woken up to find burned seared bones (when I adapted this to Turkey and let it run overnight). Don't add water after the cooking is in progress though - I once did that and ended up with a no-so-satisfying watery soup stock.

After this much time, the bones and cartiledge will have mostly broken down. You'll want to strain the liquid through some kind of mesh or sieve. The remaining liquid should be thick, rich, warm, and naturally buttery. Some folks say to skim the fat off. Do it if you can figure it out. When I have to worry seriously about my arteries, I'll scoop it off the top too. Or maybe I'll buy one of those fat separator/pouring devices.

Now that stock can be used for anything that calls for stock; I like to make a hearty hearty chicken soup out of it.

- 2 cups medium egg noodles

- 2 carrots, cut into half-rounds

- 2 onions, cut in halfinch cubes

- 2 celery ribs, chopped

- 1 leek, use the white part, chopped into half rounds

- 1 turnip, peeled and cubed

- 1 parsnip, peeled and cubed

- a few cloves of garlic, either smashed or chopped up

- Salt and Pepper

Cook the noodles separate with some salt maybe.

Put all the veggies and soup stock into a large saucepan. Simmer until the vegetables loosen up a bit. You can add some dill and some parsley, the original recipe calls for that. I generally don't bother.

Add some salt, the noodles and the pre-cooked chicken. Don't let it cook too long, just get it warm and mix the flavors.

I usually feed two or three folks, and put a few servings into the freezer with this recipe. Often I have added so much stuff that there isn't much spare broth - it's more like a stew than a soup. Fine by me!

I heartily recommend the book where I got this recipe: Soup: A Way of Life by Barbara Kafka. Great recipes with background and stories that will make you a better cook. Uncle Jim turned me on to it.

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