February 12th marks eighteen years since I left Texas. It is incomprehensible to me that it has been so long. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was in my mom’s kitchen watching her make her delicious homemade beef vegetable soup. That soup and her hamburger pie cemented my love of food and cooking. So now when I’m feeling a little sick, a little lonely or a little blue, nothing warms my heart and body like a big bowl of homemade soup. It’s just what the doctor (and your mom) ordered. This month I’d like to share my twist on mom’s vegetable soup with you. All you need is time and a little imagination. Happy Cooking!
Homemade Chicken Stock
2-3 skinless chicken breasts on the bone
or 1 whole chicken (I use the breasts to lower the fat content)
Bottom, top & middle of celery bunch (keep the beautiful stalks for soup)
3 whole carrots cut in half (do no peel)
2 whole onions cut in half (do not peel)
4-6 cloves of garlic (no need to chop)
6 black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
Place everything in a large pot and cover by 2 inches with water. Simmer for 4 hours, skimming the fat from the top as needed
Reserve chicken and liquid for soup and discard the rest. Once it’s cool enough to work with, remove all fat and bones from chicken and set aside. When the stock is cool, remove all solids that rise to the top.
Chicken Vegetable Soup
12 cups assorted vegetables— my favorites are carrots, celery, onion (these 3 should be used, other vegetables are changeable); zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, corn and asparagus or green beans. You can use any or all of these, or substitute favorite family veggies.
2 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes (feel free to use a can for this)
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
10 cups chicken stock (I have included the homemade recipe but store bought works if you are short on time).
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add all vegetables (except tomatoes).
Season with salt & pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, chicken, stock and bay leaves.
Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until the vegetables are soft. Enjoy!
Cindy Coligan is a native of Houston, Texas.
A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, she is the chef/owner of Lanie Lou’s Cafe at 135 East Erie Street (just off Route 303) in Blauvelt, NY. Reach her at (845) 680-6199.