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Author Notes: A medium-batch soup made with several of those family-friendly staples, the chicken drumsticks. Veggies are cooked and seasoned in stages, then added to the soup, and can be swapped in and out to accommodate picky eaters. The whole thing takes just two or three hours, at least one or two of those hours being pretty hands-free. —Muttersome
- 3-4 Chicken drumsticks
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2-3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1-2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1-2 handfuls greens of your choice (chopped cabbage, baby spinach, chopped kale, etc.)
- 1/2 pound short pasta (wagon wheels, elbows, etc.)
- 1 pinch ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon butter
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 quarts water
- Lemon juice, to finish (optional)
- Fill a soup pot with about 2 cups of water and add the chicken drumsticks. Place the pot on the stove and bring to a simmer. Allow the water to simmer for one to two hours, skimming off the foam. The longer you let this go, the sweeter the soup will be.
- While the water comes to a boil, I usually prepare the veggies.
- After the two hours, the water will have some color from the drumsticks, and the meat will have pulled back tightly from the bones and be very loose. Remove the drumsticks from the water and place them on a plate to cool. Keep the water on low heat so that it stays hot, but does not boil.
- To a medium saucepan, add the butter and a splash of olive oil over medium-low heat.
- Once the butter has melted, add the minced garlic. Allow it to sit over the heat for about thirty to forty seconds (don't let it burn) and then add the onion.
- Raise the heat to medium, and stir the onions and garlic together until the onion is very lightly browned. Add a good pinch of salt and a couple grindings of black pepper and stir to combine.
- Scrape the garlic and onions from the pan into your still-hot pot of (now) stock. Return your pan to the heat and add another splash of olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the carrots. Add the ground ginger and a good pinch of salt, and allow the carrots to sit over the heat until they have slightly caramelized. I usually chop my carrots in one inch pieces, so by the time the edges have caramelized the middles are still crunchy. Stir so that the ginger and salt get absorbed.
- Scrape the carrots from the pan into your still-hot pot of (now) stock and garlic and onions. Return your pan to the heat and add another splash of olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the celery and a good pinch of salt. Give the celery a quick minute over the heat, stirring to incorporate the salt, and then add the celery to the pot.
- You know the drill. Follow suit with the greens (don't forget to season). However, I usually don't add the greens to the pot - I just keep them to the side and add them to the bowls of soup as I ladle it out, depending on who likes what. Feel free to add the greens to the soup or not.
- By now, your chicken drumsticks which have been hanging out on a plate should have cooled enough for you to handle. Remove the meat from the bones and chop the meat into roughly one-inch pieces. Add the meat to the pot. If you wanted to add the bones back into the pot to coax some more flavor out of them, you could do that as well (but remember to fish them out).
- Let the pot of (now) soup simmer on the stove-top while you boil water for the pasta and cook it to al dente.
- Taste the soup. Because we have seasoned the vegetables as they cooked and then added them to the pot, there should be a good depth of flavor in the broth. If it is still bland, add a healthy pinch of salt to your taste. If the soup has reduced substantially, you can add some low-sodium chicken stock or water to bulk it up.
- Once the pasta is al dente, it's just an assembly line: get a bowl, put in some noodles, put in some greens, ladle a few big scoops of soup with all the goodies in it, squeeze some lemon on top, and serve.