I have been taking a Boot Camp class very early in the morning three mornings a week for the past few months. I love the camp, and highly recommend it. But about ten days ago, we were doing side steps in Golden Gate Park, and I fell. On to a curb. With most of my weight. And cracked a rib.
It hasn't been a very fun couple weeks. As anyone who has had a rib injury knows, there's really not much you can do for it. It just hurts, and the only thing you can do is take pain killers. For the record, you're not supposed to bind your ribs which is an old method of healing that doctors used to prescribe. Now, they know that the best thing to do is to encourage deep breathing, so that your lungs can stay healthy. At least that's what my doctor told me.
Anyway, last week in a fit of helplessness, I went to an acupuncturist. While I had gone to acupuncture before, this was my first time seeing this particular acupuncturist. She was great, and I am going to go back to her.
At the end of the session, she said to me, "In Chinese medicine, they say that whatever you are deficient in, you should eat it. Now I'm not telling you to go gnaw on a bone, but do you cook?"
"Oh, I cook. And I have a bunch of chicken carcasses in my freezer."
I think I saw her give me a sidelong glance, but she seemed happy as she told me to go home and make a soup from all those bones to help my rib. I thought to myself that Nigella would be proud, and headed home.
You must keep stock in your freezer, and also the bones you have saved to make it. Turn your freezer into your very own Golgotha by throwing in lamb bones, chicken carcasses, and any other bones at hand. I have been known to take home the carcasses with me after a dinner party once I've found out that (a) they have come from my butcher and (b) they were going to be thrown away. Nigella Lawson, How to Eat
The first step was to make the broth. I put three chicken carcasses into a large pot, added a quartered onion (washed, not peeled), a head of garlic (not peeled), a couple of bay leaves, and enough water to cover the carcasses. I brought the water to a boil, and then lowered it to a simmer. After opening a couple windows so that our house wouldn't turn into a sauna, I let it go until I was about to go to bed -- probably a couple of hours. When I was a kid, we lived in a 100-year old house in Southern California. Our laundry room was an enclosed porch which was always cooler than the rest of the house. If we were still in that house, I would have taken the entire pot out onto the back porch to cool overnight.
Since I wasn't in that house, I strained the broth through my chinois (you can use cheesecloth), and then put the pot in a coolish place in the house overnight. I felt fairly safe keeping it out because of San Francisco's cool nights, but your other option is to put it in the fridge. The next day, the fat will have raised to the top and it is easy to skim off.
After skimming off the fat, I took a whole chicken, rinsed and trimmed of extra skin, and added it to the broth. After the chicken boiled for about 15-20 minutes and was cooked through, I removed it and let it cool. I skimmed the broth once more, added some large pieces of ginger (large enough that they can be removed later) and a diced onion. After the broth had cooked down a little bit -- probably about 20 minutes -- I added the chicken meat that I had removed from the cooled chicken by hand, added salt, removed the ginger, and spooned the soup into bowls. I added some fresh basil leaves, a squeeze of lemon, and a spoonful of chili flakes to each serving.
Delicious. I'm feeling better all ready.