Part of the chicken soup lesson was how to cut a whole 3 to 4 pound chicken. This was the first time I ever cut a whole chicken in eight parts (or cut a chicken at all!). It is not as easy as it is described because your really are just cutting then ripping the bones out of the sockets when you cut the legs/wings. I used the kitchen shears to between the rib cage and the shoulder joints. I was very happy that I took anatomy while I was dissecting the chicken today. I think that with some more practice that next time (which is pretty much tomorrow) I will be able to cut the chicken faster and with less effort.
First you start off by making the broth and also boiling the chicken. Pretty much it is the same technique as making the chicken stock except instead of chicken necks I used a whole chicken. I did not have a meat thermometer which put me at a disadvantage. The book said that it takes about seven to ten minutes for the breasts to cook and 10 to 15 minutes for legs and thighs to cook. Well... I cooked the chicken in the broth with the vegetables for 15 minutes. I then used tongs to take out the chicken and I put the chicken in the fridge for a couple of minutes. After the chicken cooled a bit I took off the skin and then I cut the chicken off of the bone. A couple parts of the chicken were still a bit raw. I put the chicken bones back in the stock and covered the chicken and put it back in the fridge.
Originally my husband was not going to work tonight but he had to go in. But luck was on my side and I was able to get him to come home for dinner. It was so nice to be able to have him home for dinner! So this is where the chicken being a little raw was okay. After I put the bones in the stock with the vegetables I simmered it for 1 hour. I cut up the vegetables while I was waiting and did the dishes (I did a lot of dishes because I am also making plain beef broth for dog biscuits ). I decided not to put parsnip in the soup because my husband does not like parsnip and also I could not find it at Stop and Shop (I also got lost in Stop and Shop because it was not the one that I normally go to). Instead I took the recipe to the next level and personalized it for my husband. Martha talks about variation for different season and since tonight was cold I wanted to give Jon a good hot meal with his favorite vegetables. I added to the recipe (carrots, salt, celery and ground pepper) spinach and asparagus because he loves those vegetables. I also originally thought that it looked like there was not that much vegetables for the soup.
Since I was done with the chicken stock at 3:45 pm and my Husband was not going to be home until 5:45 I decided to refrigerate the chicken stock after I strained it so that I could skim off more of the fat. I took out the chicken bones with my tongs and threw them out with the other vegetables in the broth.The recipe says to add the "garnish" vegetables and the chicken about 7- 10 minutes before serving it I decided that I would follow that rule. However I was going to add the chicken 20 minutes before Jon came home to make sure that the chicken was fully cooked. If you follow the recipe exactly you only cook the chicken to warm it up again but not in this case. I cut up pretty much all of the asparagus I had bought because I thought of the chicken stock volume when it was in with the bones not after the bones were removed and it was simmered. That is why I though there were not enough vegetables but there really were only three to four quarts. Well I had a lot of vegetables in the soup and the broth turned green. But it was very filling and it was still a soup. But next time I might not put as many vegetables in the soup. I also added instead of salt Parmesan cheese because my husband loves a little cheese in his soup.