Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chicken soup

To me, a whole chicken is the food that keeps on giving.

I roasted a close to 5 lb. whole chicken on Sunday and fed it to 12 people, 8 of which were adults. Here is what was left.

Monday morning, I pulled the chicken out and pulled off all the edible chicken pieces.

I froze the chicken pieces. I can use it in any recipe calling for cooked chicken or save it for chicken soup.

Next, I took the inner stalks of celery and the celery's leafy tops, 3 carrots that I peeled, and an onion and chunked them all. (I don't see any reason to spend much time in preparation because all these vegetables will be tossed out with the bones.) Note: I have no problem using vegetables that are beyond their prime as long as they're not rotten. Limp celery, limp carrots, strong tasting onions are all just fine.

I dump them into a pot with all the skin, bones, etc. of the leftover chicken plus about a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of whole black pepper, and a teaspoon of poultry seasoning. If I want clear broth, I have to leave out the poultry seasoning. It leaves a definite residue in the broth. I then cover the mixture with water.

I then bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 3 hours or so. I know it's ready when virtually everything in the pot is soft and mushy. I have also done this in the crockpot. It will be done in 8 hours or so. Here is the resulting mixture.

I strain out the vegetables and bones and toss them.

This is what is left.

The mixture needs to be cooled and refrigerated. Pull it out of the fridge after it is cold. At this point, you'll notice the hardened fat on top of the gelatinous broth. Carefully spoon it off and toss the fat.

Your broth is ready to use or freeze.

I now have what I need for a variety of recipes, but I usually choose to make chicken noodle soup for someone who is sick.

To make soup, I pull the broth out of the freezer and defrost it just a little in the microwave and stick it in a pot and let the heat thaw it the rest of the way. I put nicely sliced celery, carrots and diced onions in the broth and cook until soft. I will add the thawed, cooked chicken and noodles (about 1/4 of a l lb. package) or rice (perhaps 1/2 cup). I cook the rice or noodles in the soup for the time required to cook the item used. The soup is ready to be delivered. This does not make enough to feed an entire family, but is good for the one or two people who are sick.

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