"Silkie Chicken Carcass Soup with Watercress"
– What We Eat and Where We're From –
Olivia Lai Shetler
Silkie Chicken Carcass Soup with Watercress
Archival Art Print
6" x 4" Recipe Card
About this piece:
Growing up, every time I'd come home to the smell of my mom's chicken carcass soup, I knew we were in for a treat. I always grew up with this dish--which is essentially an improvised traditional soup stock made with the leftovers of a previous meal prep--and it taught me so much about preventing food waste and how to use every ingredient to its fullest potential. If we ever prepped a whole chicken, any leftover parts were put in the soup pot. This can turn into any kind of stock, but my mother's Cantonese heritage meant that I was exposed to all sorts of Asian soup ingredients, like jujubes, sea coconut, longan berries, goji/wolfberries... and my favorite amongst them was (the humble) watercress plant--an easily foraged wild green. There's a certain earthy, green flavor that it adds to the dish--almost nutty, even--that pushes it from being a great soup to being an excellent soup. Every time I have leftover bones and meat, especially when I have leftover chicken, I'll use it to make a carcass soup. If you've ever heard the story of "Stone Soup," it's a similar principle--it's a very simple soup that comes from having to stretch every ingredient to make a full meal, and the more you add, the heartier the result! I like to stick to three simple main ingredients, and if you're lucky enough to have access to Silkie chicken, give it a try! Don't let the unusual blue/black color of the skin deter you, it's one of the best-tasting chickens out there, in my opinion.
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