Monday, November 9, 2015

Chicken Soup

Start with a whole chicken, rinsed.
Butter its butt with butter. Salt inside and out.
Arrange quartered onions
inside along backbone. Bake for one hour and a half
until the back legs flop open.
Remove and place tenderly on a rack
to cool, letting it rest so the juices soak 
into flesh sealed by crisp skin. 
While warm, break the legs and thighs
from body at joints. Apologize when wings
are removed. Wings are sacred and shouldn't
be taken lightly. This now becomes a ritual --
like you are of the tribe of Levi outside
the holiest part of the tabernacle. 
Turn the broken body over, skinned. 
With it's back turned up, feel for the small loins
and peel them away from the cavities. 
Hold them reverently. Sprinkle with salt. Give
thanks. Put them to your mouth and chew - one at a time.
The cook, in order to make soup worth
eating, must partake first of the finest portion.
Ceremoniously put a large pot of water 
on to boil. Salt it. Remove the rest of the meat 
from the bones and place the bones in boiling,
salted water. Turn heat down. Simmer for one hour.
While the meat gives up its flavor, chop onions, carrots,
celery and the meat. Strain the bouilloned water
from the bones. Save the water, it's precious now. 
Throw the bones. They are finished. Add 
vegetables and meat. Season to taste. Choose 
your bowl carefully. And your spoon. 
Light a candle.  

I really love roasting a whole chicken and picking it for soup. It is one of life's many simple pleasures. Homemade chicken soup has some sort of enchantment to it. Does anyone know why?