This non-standard chicken soup recipe is one of my favorite inventions. I make it whenever anyone around me is sick. It's full of delicious healthy things like root vegetables, garlic and ginger, and is guaranteed to make you feel better whether you needed to or not. No one who has tasted it has ever stopped before having a second bowl. The keys to its success are dark meat chicken and parsnips, which give the broth a sweet hearty flavor.
I challenge your Italian Grandmother to a duel!!!
Step 1: What You Need
To make a large pot that will be a full meal for about 4-6 people you will need:
- 4 Chicken legs
- Two medium-large parsnips
- One large, or two small turnips
- One large yellow onion
- Fresh ginger
- 8-10 cloves of garlic
- 3 medium carrots
- Two quarts of chicken stock
- One bunch of kale
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- A large pot
- A cutting board
- A large sharp chopping knife
- A peeler or small knife
Step 2: Ingredient Prep
Place The chicken legs on a plate on top of a paper towel, and sprinkle them with salt. (I like to remove the skin and fat from two of the legs, but leave the skin on the other two. This gives a pretty good balance of fat in the soup stock, but if you want a slightly lower fat (and less tasty : ) version, you can remove all the skin.)
Chop The Vegetables:
Chop the parsnips, turnips, and carrots into roughly equal 3/4" cubes and set aside.
Chop the onion into roughly 1/2" to 3/4" cubes and set aside separately.
Depending on how ginger heavy you want the soup to be, cut one or two medium arms off a large ginger root. Peel these with a knife or peeler and then cut into roughly 1"x 1/4" slivers.
Crush 8-10 cloves of garlic with the flat side of your large chopping knife, remove the skins and chop into medium chunks.
Step 3: Start Cooking!
Put a large pot over medium heat, and coat the bottom with a light layer of olive oil.
When it's hot, add the onions, and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they begin to turn translucent.
Turn the flame to medium-high and push the onions aside to add the chicken thighs, skin side down. Make sure the chicken is contacting the bottom of the pan, not just sitting on a layer of onions, you may have to pile onions on top of the chicken to do this, and that's perfectly ok. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the bottom of the chicken is browned. Flip the legs over and brown on the other side. Getting a good brown on the chicken is very important because it helps give the broth it's rich, unctuous, flavor.
When both sides of the chicken are browned, deglaze the pan by adding the two quarts of stock and stirring thoroughly to dislodge any onions and chicken from the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Step 4: Add the Vegetables
While the Chicken is boiling, prepare the Kale. De-stem each leaf by slicing along the edges of the stem with a knife, and then chop the leaves roughly. Set aside.
After the chicken has boiled for about 15 minutes, add the parsnips, carrots, turnips and half the garlic and ginger. Stir and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and beginning to fall off the bone.
Step 5: Pick the Chicken
When the chicken is fully cooked and starting to almost fall off the bone when lifted with a fork, remove the legs one by one from the pot, place them on a cutting board and cut off the meat, discarding the skin, bones and gristle. Cut the meat into bite sized pieces and return to the pot.
*as a tasty variation, you can also add sliced cremini, button, or shiitake mushrooms at this point.
Step 6: Finally
Add the kale and the rest of the ginger and garlic, and cook for about another 5-8 minutes until the kale is tender.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in bowls, perhaps with slices of crusty bread.
Feel warm and cozy like you're in a pillow fort.
I command it!