There I said it!  For all the times I said we don’t get snow, we got snow.  Snowmageddon – just kidding.  It’s a fair amount and still falling but again, nothing like what some of the snowier parts of the country get on a typical snow day.  So… what are we doing today.  Soup of course!  Every good soup starts off with a good stock.

There are packages of basic chicken, beef or vegetable stock out there and they are good in a pinch, but really, if you are going grocery shopping, just pick up a chicken – bones, whole, legs, backs, breasts even turkey necks make great stock.  When I make soup, it’s enough to feed twice as many people than are in the house. Couple of reasons, we all like soup in the house, plus, you never know when someone might drop by unexpectedly. My mum taught me this and I always cook this way even today when our family is half the size.

The quantity below makes about 5 litres of ready to use stock so adjust accordingly. If you are cooking for two this makes enough for about 4 – 5 different soups. Freeze the excess stock in 1 litre containers, then on our next snow day, you will be ready to make more soup.

1 Chicken, skin and excess fat removed
7 litres of cold water – this will reduce to about 5 when ready to use
1 whole onion
2 stalks of celery
10 mini carrots (I buy the packet of baby carrots – snack alert)
*2 bay leaves
*2 cloves (use these to anchor the bay leaf to the onion, don’t stab yourself)
*4 – 5 sprigs of parsley
*5 – 10 whole peppercorns
*2 sprigs of thyme

*You can tie all these up in a bag (called a bouquet garni – don’t the French have such a way with words) to make it easier to remove but I strain it anyway, so everything gets put into the pot with cold water.

– Bring this to a boil, and immediately reduce the heat so it gently simmers (if you are on an electric stove you may need to pull it off to let the elements lose some of their heat) – boiling makes the stock cloudy (see Chef Josh, you can teach an old dog new tricks)
– Skim any of the stuff that comes to the top off with a soup ladle and discard, you will have to repeat this process so a small bowl and a ladel by the stove would be handy.
– After about 2 hours, your stock is done – let this cool
– Remove the pieces of chicken from the stock, separate the meat from the bone (it should be falling off the bone anyway) discard the bones, you will be using the meat in the soup.
– Now you are ready to make soup.

If you don’t have stock or the means to make it today, then by all means use packet stock (forgive me Chef), it’s too cold outside not to have soup today

I have the following items in my pantry and vegetable compartment in the fridge (note, today looks like a good day to post 2 blogs, this one and What’s in Your Pantry?!
1 packet of Baby Bok Choy
1 cup or so of Dried Mushrooms
5 tblsp Soy Sauce (this is for 5 litres of product so it’s not that much)
2 tblsp Sushi Rice Vinegar
1 medium Onion, 1 stalk of Celery, 6 Carrots (Mire Poix) – diced
1 pod of garlic – chopped (again it’s for 5 litres, use less if you have no sense of taste whatsoever)
1 cup of Green Peas (I love peas, they are my go to vegetable for almost any meal I make – if they are not on your hit list, use something else – your making soup, not building a bridge)
1 Can of Lentils
Olive Oil

– Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water – about 15 minutes (they will boil in the soup anyway)
– Saute the Mire Poix in a couple of tablespoons of Olive Oil
– Wash and chop the Bok Choy into pieces (trim off the ends and slice any way you like)
– Drain the mushrooms – reserve the liquid, and chop
– Strain the mushroom liquid through a sieve lined with a coffee filter to remove the dirt
– Add the mushrooms to the onions in the pan
– Add the stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric (for colour mostly)
– Add the bok choy
– Season (start with less and work your way up – seasoning is critical in everything you make) with soy sauce, sushi rice vinegar, salt and pepper – continue to simmer for about 15 minutes until bok choy pieces are tender crisp
– Add the peas, can of lentils – simmer a couple of minutes, add the pieces of chicken

Voila – Asian Chicken Vegetable Soup (or my version of it anyway) – filling satisfying hearty soup!
As always – Enjoy!