Minimalist cooking can be quick, but here is a treat for those of you who agree that cooking slowly and intuitively is the best kind of meditation. I can not begin to describe the enthusiasm this simple, cheap, nourishing and utterly delicious dish evokes in me. It took me nearly 24 hours to prepare it, but please don’t stop reading just yet – most of the time consists of letting the pot sit on the stove, peacefully minding its own business. May I present to you the queen of all comfort food, traditional chicken soup with coconut milk, chili and turmeric:
Get your beautiful behind to the grocery store and pick up a whole chicken (without giblets). Put it in a big pot in the sweet company of a couple of chopped onions, no less than an entire, chopped garlic, some 10 bay leaves, dried thyme and salt. Cover with water and let boil until hell freezes over. I left the pot simmering gently on the stove overnight and a good part of the following day.
Take the chicken from the pot and let it cool until you can handle it without burning your hands. Pick the meat and the skin from the bones, making sure you get every tiny piece of bone and cartilage – this is a bit messy and requires you to get down and dirty with the poor, disintegrated bird. Put the meat and the skin in a new pot and put the bones, cartilage, joints and any goo you wouldn’t want in your chicken soup back in the big pot.
Put the big pot of broth and bones back on the stove and let it simmer until hell defrosts again – or until the bones fall apart. I left it on the stove until our Friday night guests left around one o’clock after a lovely, traditional crayfish party. For those of you unfamiliar with Swedish culture, I can add that crayfish parties take place throughout the nation during the month of August. Like most Swedish feasts, they entail salty food and hard liquor. They may also entail ridiculous, red hats, but we didn’t go that far. As you see, there is no need to forsake your relationships and national identity in order to make chicken soup. The big pot of broth, though, is about making chicken stock, or gelatine. Let me describe this process before getting back to the soup recipe.
In the middle of the night, in quite a tipsy state, I decided the bones had simmered long enough. I used our metal coffee filter to filter the broth. You can probably use any kind of strainer. Put the broth into the fridge and let it gel. As a miraculous side effect to making chicken soup, you have now made a beautiful, versatile gelatine broth that you may use in any kind of stew, sauce or soup. If you want to, you can freeze it into cubes, using an ice cube tray. Not only will the the gelatine add a hearty, complex taste to whatever you cook: it is also very good for your brain, gut, skin, hair, nails, joints and entire being. The miracle component here is collagen, which you will find in various, pricy supplements, skin- and hair products. Instead of getting ripped off, you may as well make your own collagen via this delicious chicken stock.
Back to the chicken soup, then, and back in time to before the crayfish party. When you’ve managed to separate the chicken meat from the bones and put it into a new pot, take some deciliters of the broth from the big pot and add to the chicken meat. Make sure you do not get any bay leaves, cartilage or bones from the big pot. Bring the soup to a gentle boil.
Add some turmeric, chili powder and any herbs or spices you like to the soup. I prefer to keep it simple and let the umami-like taste of broth play the lead part here, but to each their own. Add a few deciliters of pure coconut milk and as much water as you like, to get the right consistency. This is the only brand of coconut milk that does not make me want to high-five someone in the face with a chair. What is up with all the stabilizers and other foul additions in coconut milk? Luckily, the brand Aroy-D is available at our local, Asian grocery store.
Last but not least, add an absurd amount of butter to the soup. I probably used 300 grams or so, to make it properly keto. Make sure you taste the soup in order to get the right amount of salt. It’s nice, but not necessary, to also add some lemon juice. Done!
For those of you going “For the love of God, stop ranting and just tell me how to make the soup!”, here is a short version:
- Boil a whole chicken in a big pot with some onions, garlics, bay leaves and salt overnight.
- Separate the meat and the skin from the bones.
- Put the skin and the meat into a pot, add coconut milk, butter, turmeric and chili and possibly more salt. Now, the soup is done.
- If you want to make chicken stock, let the big pot of bones and broth simmer until the bones fall apart.
- Filter the broth and let it gel in the fridge.