Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chicken in a Pot (Mary's & Sarah's)

This recipe comes from two of my very best friends, Mary and Sarah.  I was at Mary's house on Sunday and she had this simmering on the stove.  Monday I was at Sarah's and she had just made this earlier in the week.  Mary and Sarah are both fabulous cooks.  Cooking comes naturally to both Mary and Sarah.  They just do it!  You can, too! 

I believe that one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family is to cook REAL FOOD.  This is the perfect example of how cooking real food (as opposed to opening up a box of something that is highly processed) can be easy, cheap, and incredibly healthy.  If you haven't cooked anything yet, please try this.  You will feel a great sense of accomplishment and your family will love you for making this wonderful, healthy, delicious meal.  :)

Chicken in a Pot (Mary's & Sarah's)

1 whole chicken
1 onion, chopped
3-4 carrots, halved and sliced
3-4 celery stalks, sliced
14-16 cups of water
2 bay leaves
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Put all the chopped veggies into pot and saute' for a few minutes until just starting to soften (about 3 minutes).  Add salt and pepper to taste (I put in about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper).  Place chicken on top of veggies and pour water over until chicken is covered by several inches of water.  Add the bay leaves and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once it comes to a boil turn down to medium and skim off any foam that comes to the surface (this is just some impurities and congealed proteins).  Turn down to simmer and cover pot.  Cook for 2 to 3 hours.  I let it cook for 3 hours and then I took the pot and put it outside to cool (because it is below freezing outside right now and there was not enough room in my refrigerator).  You can skip this cooling part, it just makes the chicken easier to handle.  You can just put the entire pot into your refrigerator and let it cool for a few hours or overnight OR just proceed without cooling.  Remove chicken from pot--it will fall apart so make sure to get all the chicken pieces out of the pot.  Remove skin and bones and reserve chicken meat.  Reserve the rest of the broth, including the carrots, celery, and onions, in another container or containers.  (Sarah just keeps everything together --this is your choice!)  For a nice soup you can heat some of the broth, add chicken and whatever else!  Per Sarah's recommendation, I used canned navy beans (rinsed and drained) and cooked pasta.  I added the beans right into the broth and allowed them to cook (heat through) for a few minutes.  I cooked the pasta and then added a little to each individual bowl of soup.