Mama Martha's Chicken Soup for the Soul
Everyday after school, my mom would pick us up, drive to the grocery store, patiently remove all the junk food my brother and I would try to sneak into the cart, and then drive home to cook us dinner. The amount of work my mother did throughout the day must of left her dead by this time. You'd think she'd buy us something simple to make for dinner. Maybe just stick a frozen meal in the oven and slap it on a paper plate. But no, not my mother. I watched her make the most beautiful meals every night. From cows tongue dressed in the most decadent sauce, to squid ink fried rice. Nothing beats my moms cooking!
One dish in particular was on the top of my list. Not only was I in love with the way she danced through the kitchen making it, I loved the story behind it. This soup wasn't just any soup, it had healing powers (so they say). I never turned into a superwoman after devouring a few bowls of it, but it would help me feel better if I was catching a cold.
Nicaraguans are not the only group of people who believe their chicken soup has healing qualities. The universal popularity of this dish reinforces that notion. Anywhere you go in the world, you will find a chicken soup for your soul. The ingredients used to create it are as diverse as the nations themselves.
Out of all the chicken soups you can find around the world, I promise you.. my mothers is the best.
+ 4 whole chicken legs
+ 1 tbsp olive oil
+ 2 L of water
+ 2 L of chicken stock
+ 1 onion, diced
+ 3 garlic cloves, minced
+ 2 large carrots, cubed
+ 2 celery stalks, sliced
+ 1 giant yucca, peeled and cut into large chunks
Step No. 1: In a large pot, heat up the olive oil and add in the garlic. Once the garlic has fried a bit, add the onions, carrots, celery, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Step No. 2: Place the chicken in the pot, skin side down, with the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until the fatty skin melts down.
Step No. 3: Pour the water and chicken stock into the pot. Add the potatoes, yucca (remember to remove the fibrous center or a bag of frozen yucca works well too), cabbage, zucchini, squash, lime juice, and mint. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Step No. 4: Once the soup has simmered for at least an hour, with tongs, remove the chicken from the pot and remove its skin. (If you want, you may also remove the bones at this time. I like mine with the bone in, but it's what ever style you prefer.) After removing the skin, place the chicken back into the broth and continue to simmer.
Step No. 5: At this point you are ready to try a bowl of your creation. If you think it needs more acid, squeeze some more lime. If you need more of an herbaceous flavor, add more mint (or even a little cilantro). If you think it needs more time, give it more time. The longer it simmers, the better it will taste. The second day always has a better flavor than the first.
+ 5-6 small red potatoes, quartered
+ 1 large yellow squash
+ 1 large zuccinni
+ 1 cup of chopped cabbage, large chops
+ 2 ears of corn, cut in half
+ 2-3 limes, juiced
+ 1 tbsp mint, roughly chopped
+ salt & pepper