Once fall hits I immediately start to crave warm, heaping bowls of soup filled with every veggie I can find in my fridge. Young Kenneth requested soup a few nights ago and I was excited to experiment with some new techniques and flavors. For this version I made my own stock to really intensify the flavor. Stock is supremely easy to make, but does take a fair amount of time–it’s the perfect activity for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The tomato chicken stock came out wonderfully–the richness of the chicken flavor and the slight acidity of the tomatoes is a heavenly combination. When paired with farm fresh veggies, tender chicken and a coconut beer sauce this soup lick-your-lips delicious.
Chicken Tomato Stock:
1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice
2 large yellow onions, quartered
3 cups carrots, diced
3 large celery stalks diced
24 oz tomato puree
1-2 Chicken necks and backs (if you are cooking with a whole chicken, simply use the neck and back after you make your cuts)
4 cups water
3 bay leaves
½ head garlic, roughly chopped
2 large carrots cut lengthwise then into ½ inch pieces
2 large squash cut lengthwise then into ½ inch pieces
½ bunch kale with stems and stalk removed, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes
zest of 1 lemon
1 whole chicken cut into pieces. I suggest buying a whole chicken and cutting it down, you’ll need the bones for your stock. Here’s a great tutorial on how to do this. If cutting a whole chicken down freaks you out, purchase a chicken already cut into pieces and ask your butcher for bones for your stock.
1 can light coconut milk
1 bottle amber ale like Fat Tire (If you are strictly following a wheat-free diet you can omit this)
Flat leaf parsley chopped for garnish
How it’s Done:
In a dutch oven or large soup pot heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery and onions to the pot and stir making sure they are covered in oil. Lightly salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes to soften. Add the remaining stock ingredients and bring them to a boil then simmer for at least 1 hour. When making stock the longer you simmer the more intense your flavor will become. If you have the time, try simmering for two hours, the flavor will be awesome! While simmering make sure to skim the top of the pot and remove the impurities (you’ll know them when you see them) that bubble up. I do this once every twenty minutes or so with a shallow spoon.
Once you’ve allowed your ingredients to fully flavor your stock, remove them from the heat, and using a mesh strainer, separate the liquid from the now mushy veggies. What remains should be a beautifully red colored stock full of fantastic chicken flavor. At this point you can start your soup or transfer the stock to a storage container and refrigerate it overnight. If you are looking to remove some of the fat from the stock I suggest the refrigeration method. The excess fat will float to the top and congeal making it easy to remove the next day.
Now on to our soup. Salt and pepper chicken pieces and add them skin side down to a cast-iron skillet and cook over medium heat to render the fat (about 7 minutes). Add coconut milk and beer and simmer chicken over medium heat for 30 minutes, turning half way through. Remove chicken breasts after 30 minutes and continue cooking dark meat pieces until they are tender and moist and fall of the bone when done about 10 more minutes. Remove skin from chicken and discard. Shred chicken into bit-size pieces. Reserve the coconut and beer sauce.
While your chicken cooks, add your tomato and chicken stock to a medium soup pot and simmer. Add carrots, lemon zest, salt and pepper and red chili flakes and simmer for 20 minutes until the carrots begin to soften. You want your veggies to be slightly soft but not mushy. Add the coconut and beer sauce from the chicken and simmer to incorporate, this adds incredible flavor to the soup. 10 minutes before serving add in your zucchini. Once zucchini has cooked add in your chicken pieces and cook for 1-2 minutes more, you just want to make sure the chicken is the same temperature as the rest of your ingredients.
Remove soup from heat and serve in shallow bowls. Finish soup with a sprinkling of parsley and a handful of kale. This soup makes fantastic left-overs. Make a double batch and have it for lunch throughout the week. We found the flavors to be even better the next day!