One of the tricks to eating well, in my humble opinion, is to eat simple meals comprised of high quality ingredients. The high quality ingredients will allow you to “cheat” because they’re, A priori, spectacular food items to begin with and the simple meal part will ensure you (read me) won’t screw up the cooking process because simple means little manipulation or time spent in the kitchen. So, in short buy the best raw food ingredients you can afford and manipulate the ingredients as little as possible (this is basically Italian food philosophy 101; if you have more time on your hands then you can find one of those cooking French food at home blogs, if they exist!).
One dish that epitomizes the above philosophy is chicken soup made with the best chicken you can find, great vegetables, and fresh, filtered, water:
- 3-4 pieces of chicken breast on the bone; you can remove the skin if you'd like (specifically, you're looking for about 4-4.5 pounds of chicken)
- 1 large onion
- 2-3 pieces of celery cut into rough 1 inch pieces
- 3 carrots, remove peel and cut into rough 1 inch pieces
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Bunch of parsley
- ½ head of a small sized head of escarole, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces (optional)
- Bunch of dried thyme (optional)
- Finely chopped fennel fronds to taste (optional)
- Use a large stock pot and cover your chicken with fresh, filtered, water (you can cover by a few inches). Once the liquid comes to a boil add diced celery, onions, carrots, salt, chopped escarole (optional), dried thyme (optional), fennel (optional), pepper and simmer (place a loose lid on your pot).
- You want to cook the chicken until it becomes firm and white in color (I usually simmer for about an hour). Next, I remove the chicken and continue to cook (simmer) for another hour or so. You can strain the broth and skim the fat from the soup if any is clearly visible. Add your chopped parsley to the broth and a few pieces of carrot, if you'd like. I also shred the chicken and include it in the serving bowl, along with some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- I like serving a refreshing Brooklyn Pilsner or glass of Greco Bianco Librandi from Calabria.