Chicken soup in Lebanese cuisine could not be simpler. It is simply a chicken cooked in water, to which some cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon is added, along with a handful of vermicelli the last 3 minutes of cooking. I usually wait to have a bunch of chicken parts leftover, throw the bunch in the pot and cook the mixture for a couple of hours on low heat. Wonderful to have on hand for those grey days when the weather makes you want to crawl back into bed watching reruns of The Rockford Files.
INGREDIENTS: 6 servings
- 1 chicken or chicken parts, neck, wings, for a total of 3 pounds.
- 1 onion, 1 carrot, a bay leaf, a few sprigs of parsley, a few cloves of garlic, a stick of cinnamon
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 1/2 cup of vermicelli noodles (can be substituted for medium-grain rice)
- Salt, pepper, cinnamon, to taste
- Place the chicken in a pot and brown gently on medium heat until brown all over (this step is optional)
- Add the cold water and the spices as well as the onion, carrot and celery stick. Cover and bring to a boil.
- Simmer gently for at least one hour. Cool and strain the broth. Place the broth in the fridge so that the fat will congeal on the surface and can be removed easily a few hours later or the next day.
- Take the chicken and break the meat in little pieces. Place in a bowl and cover.
- When ready to serve, heat the broth, add the vermicelli and bring to a boil and boil gently 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken pieces and heat for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle the soup with some parsley and serve with quartered lemons (to be squeezed in the soup) and some cinnamon (to be sprinkled on the soup).
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