Island Epicure – Chicken Soup Season
December 2023, Recipes

Island Epicure – Chicken Soup Season

By Marjorie Watkins with Suzanna Leigh

Winter winds mean it’s chicken soup season! For soup stock, you can use canned chicken broth or chicken broth cubes and water, or you can make your own broth with chicken bones. My grandmother Fanny taught me how to make the bone broth.

Fanny and Albert, my grandfather, came to Oregon from Kansas. Their first house in Kansas was a sod house, and their first four children were born there. They hung sheets up for walls. Eventually, they built a wooden house. My dad was their first child to be born in a wooden house. My grandmother said the sod house was warmer, but they didn’t have to keep killing the rattlesnakes that nestled behind the sheets.

One year there was a terrible hail deluge, and the big hail stones ruined their wheat crop. Grandfather’s sister Ada had already moved to Oregon and she kept saying, “Come to Oregon, it’s much better than Kansas.” Fanny and Albert proclaimed an auction and sold everything they had. That made enough money to move to Oregon by train. My grandfather worked at a brick factory to get money down on an 80-acre farm. The house on the farm was not livable; it was full of insects, so they lived in the barn while they built the wooden house.

I was born in that house. On a very hot day in July, Fanny helped to deliver the new baby and it was a girl. It was me. My dad was so angry because he was determined his first child would be a boy and he would name it after himself. Instead, it was a scrawny red thing, and it was a girl!

I loved my grandmother very much and wanted to be a really good cook like her. I learned to make bone broth from her, as well as how to cook shelled peas.

Chicken Bone Broth

Save the bones when you have chicken, until you have a pot full. (Steve, who is doing most of the cooking these days, says to take the chicken off the bones when it is raw for better flavor. Suzanna uses bones from cooked chicken.)

Add a tablespoon of vinegar and a teaspoon or two of salt. (Optional: add vegetable peelings or chopped carrots and celery. Add a chicken boullion cube for extra flavor.)

Bring to a boil and simmer for at least three hours; strain out the bones

This broth a a good stock for many soups.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Peas

Cook one cup of noodles in 3 cups of chicken broth until noodles are tender (makes 4 servings). Add ½ to 1 cup of frozen peas (extends the soup to 6 servings).

Chicken Rice Soup with Peas

Cook 1½ cup of rice in 3 cups of chicken broth until rice is tender. Add ½ cup of frozen peas and bring to boil for 1 minute (serves 4).

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Combine 3 cups of chicken broth with 1 or 2 garlic cloves (well-chopped) and 1 cup diced celery (use tops as well as stems). Cook until celery is soft (serves 4).

December 8, 2023

About Author

marj and suzanna