How is it possible that I am craving chicken soup? It is August--hot and humid. Imagine that the sprints up and down I-95 to deliver and retrieve girls from one camp or another, the trips to Kennedy airport to greet incoming family, and the general joyful chaos that is summer has zapped not only my patience but chi.
Love as I do a sliced tomato sprinkled with sea salt in the name of dinner--sometimes the combo just won’t suffice. And so I find myself making chicken stock while the air conditioning hums. As luck would have it, many of my patients could benefit from the tonifying brew. Today I treated a woman who has been in labor for 24 hours and another woman who is tired and nauseous from morning sickness. Perhaps I should call this my Pregnant Lady Chicken Stew. Then again, tomorrow I see someone who says he has had poor energy and bad digestion since forever. I will give some to him, too.
I fear the world does not need another recipe for chicken soup and so, rather than recreate a standard, I offer you only a few pointers for success. Make your own chicken stock. It is time-consuming but only in the simmering and so very worthwhile. Keep flavorings simple: salt and pepper and fresh herbs will do. I add whatever is in season--ramps and wintered over parsnips in the spring, coarse leafy greens in the summer, butternut squash in the fall, and root vegetables come winter. I added fennel to today's version, mostly because I love it, but also for its digestive properties.