- 1 Cup (dried), organic quinoa
- 32 oz unsalted chicken stock
- 1 whole chicken
- Fresh herbs, fresh garlic (see step 4)
- Vegetables (see step 7)
- Salt/pepper to taste
Cook organic quinoa by following box directions EXCEPT instead of all water use ½ water and ½ UNSALTED chicken stock (it gives the quinoa more flavor)
Fabricate the chicken, it doesn’t have to be pretty, you are just cooking the entire bird, then pulling apart and cutting up the pieces. Make sure to remove/discard as much skin and excess fat as possible from the entire bird, then set the carcass aside.
Put ALL of the pieces (meat, bones, carcass, etc) into the pot (except the kidneys, heart), and cover with cold water (most of the flavor comes from the bones). Bring to a slow simmer and let it simmer for about 90 minutes. Skim off excess fat and “schmutz” from the surface.
Add your “liquid flavoring” (you are essentially making a chicken stock), fresh herbs stem and all; whatever flavors you like, but I use Italian parsley, thyme and bay leaf, and a couple cloves of crushed garlic, and the ‘mirepoix’- about a half onion, the same amount of celery (you can use the top part and leaves for this portion), and carrots. Just a rough chop and throw them in. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for about 45 minutes.
Turn off heat, and remove the pieces of chicken and set aside to cool. You can toss the excess parts now (carcass, neck). When cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bone and chop up however you like (I like small pieces), and set aside.
Strain the liquid to remove/discard all the excess ‘pieces’ and ‘flavoring veggies’. Return the liquid to the pan and put back on the stove, at a low simmer.
Now that you have your ‘broth’ you can go about adding all of the chicken and veggies you want. This part is entirely up to you – add as much of the chicken you want and as much of the veggies. The ratio of food to liquid is based on your preference. Try to chop everything about the same size, so they cook evenly.
Divide your veggies into ‘cook time’; meaning, put the longer cooking ones in first (green beans, potato) and your quick cooking veggies at the very end (in particular, zucchini, squash, because they tend to overcook-I actually put them in at the very end and turn off the heat, stir and let sit about 10 minutes). The choice of veggies is yours, but try to use low-glycemic, low starch ones. I use: Broccoli, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, green beans, asparagus, 1 potato (my guilty pleasure), more onion, celery and carrot, and a can of unsalted stewed tomatoes without the juice. Sometimes I also use lentils for added fiber and protein. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I like to add some dried herbs at the end but not a lot, just enough to enhance the flavor of the soup, a little extra dried parsley, dill, and check your salt and pepper again as well.
Add whatever amount of the quinoa to the soup as you like (again its about the ratio that YOU like). Remember that the quinoa will absorb a little of the liquid over time. Stir well to incorporate, turn off heat and cover. Let sit about 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to incorporate.
I know this sounds like a lot of work, but I PROMISE YOU, once you make this soup, you’ll never buy store-bought again! And for the record you just learned how to make home made chicken stock to boot!
Stock is simply the liquid without the quinoa, chicken or veggies – you can ladle this into ziplock freezer bags and freeze for future use – the idea is to keep the seasoning and flavor mild so you can use it for anything!