Quick Chicken Soup

The stock is either my frugal use-all-you-got stock cobbled together from odds and ends of things and carcasses of already-roasted chicken (I am unwilling to part with food unless I can squeeze every last bit of usefulness out of them), or chicken-wings-and-backs stock that I make whenever I spend long stretches of time at home puttering around. In the colder months, that time is plentiful, so the stock is a frequent mainstay on our stovetop. Sometimes, I can get chicken backs from my butcher for next to nothing. Most of the time, I stash them away in the freezer when I’m spatchcocking a chicken. The process for both stocks is the same, except for the state of the chicken parts when you start out. There’s usually more scum with the raw chicken than with the roasted carcass. I’ve started to season my stock with enough salt to really taste the flavors of it. I like the seasoned stock more. You can leave yours salt-free.

Once the stock is made, it is strained, cooled, and divided among containers: either pint or quart-sized ones, depending on what containers are around. Then, I freeze the stock and wait. Lucky for us, we don’t get sick frequently, but it’s still nice to have around just in case.

One reason I like having stock without chicken meat on hand is because when I’m sick, pieces of chicken, floating in my soup, are less than exciting. I’d rather have the broth, infused with ginger and lemon—it feels so much more restorative to me. If you’re quite down with the flu and should avoid protein, skip the egg, but if you can hold it down, I think it makes for a filling, nourishing, and gentle meal.

1 quart chicken stock, preferably homemade (I can’t tell you enough how much better, and better for you) the stock will be)
2 to 3 tablespoons white rice
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into coins
Juice of 1 lemon (or to taste)
1 to 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger (or to taste)
Kosher salt (if you need to season your stock) to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten, optional

Place the stock to a medium pot and set it over medium heat. Add the rice, carrots, lemon juice, and ginger and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat until the soup comes to a calm simmer and let the rice and carrots cook in the broth both are tender, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting available (if you haven’t already) and whisk in the egg. Immediately remove the soup from heat and ladle into bowls.

Serves 2

© 2022 Olga Massov