Posts Tagged ‘chicken soup from scratch’
Nothing makes me dislike winter more than the beginning of the cold and flu season. It seems that as soon as the first fall breezes sweep in from the north, or in the case the Midwest, kids start sniffling, adults start calling in sick, and doctor’s offices and urgent care centers are filled with coughing, sneezing and sickly patients. I always recommend orange juice and chicken soup before starting my speech about the benefits of a diet high in things like zinc and vitamin C, but most people think that I mean the canned soup when I say Chicken Soup. If you reach for a can of the Campbell’s Chicken and Stars, I’ll give you an A for effort, but its not nearly as healthy and beneficial as chicken soup made from scratch.
WAIT, WHAT? Isn’t this blog supposed to be about easy and simple nutritious things? I know, you probably think that chicken soup takes days of work, hours of prep, and ages of simmering on your cooktop before you can even begin to enjoy it, but I am here to tell you that it can be 1 EASY, 2 FUN, and 3 RESOURCEFUL. Consider your holiday meal plans. Are you roasting a turkey, a ham, a large roast, or a large chicken in the next few weeks? Do YOU KNOW what you can do with that carcass after it has been carved? Are you aware that the basis for some of the most delicious soup in the world can be started with a simple pile of bones and leftover meat? It’s true. For years my dad turned every roasted meat item that graced our family table into soup, and thankfully I paid enough attention to how he did it to post it in this blog. It’s a very simple process, does not require more than 3 hours of your time, and can become a family tradition that will fill your holidays with healthy and hearty meals for years to come.
Chicken Soup From Scratch
You Will Need:
For the Soup Base:
A roasted or rotisseried Chicken, half or mostly eaten
A Large Stock Pot
A Large Soup Pot
1 Large Onion, peeled and quartered
2 large carrots, halved
Any leftover veggies, herbs and spices from your fridge
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly squashed under the flat of a spoon or knife
1 large bay leaf
For The Soup:
A bag of egg noodles, or pasta of your choice, or rice or barley
1 can of corn
1 can of sliced carrots
3 sliced green onions, just the green parts
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
Place the entire chicken carcass, bones, giblets, leftover meat, and all, into the bottom of your stock pot. Cover the carcass with enough cold water so that it is covered plus one inch. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and let it boil until a foam starts to gather on top of the water. Reduce the heat and scoop off the foam. This removes alot of the fats from your soup and makes the broth clearer. Add your large onion, large carrots, and your leftover veggies and herbs, your cloves of garlic and your bay leaf. Cover the pot but leave the lid slightly ajar, allowing steam to escape and makes the soup thicker. Let your soup base, also called a stock, to simmer over medium heat for 2 whole hours, for the best flavor and nutrition. The simmering pulls all sorts of yummy nutrients from the bones, tendons and meat from your chicken, and the longer it simmers the better. If you are pressed for time, just one hour of simmering will do, but your soup won’t be as flavorful.
Place a colander over your large soup pot and line it with some cheese cloth. Remove your chicken from the pot and place it on a cutting board. Pour the stock, veggies, and herbs into the pot through the cheese cloth and colander so that just the broth is left. Wrap the softened veggies and herbs in the cheesecloth and throw them away, or add them to your compost pile. Add your canned veggies, sliced onions, and pasta to eight cups of the broth and heat it again over medium heat.
While the soup is boiling go over the carcass one last time with a fine tooth comb and pull every bit of leftover meat from it. Because the meat has simmered it should literally fall right off the bones, and I usually I get anywhere from 1-3 cups of meat depending on how hungry my family was the night before. once you have seperated your meat, add it to the soup, and throw away your chicken bones. Make sure you put it in the bottom of your garbage can so that Fido can’t get to it, because chicken bones can splinter and crack when eaten, causing your doggie to choke.
Let the freshly picked meat, canned and fresh veggies, stock, and pasta or rice cook until the pasta is done, usually another ten to fiteen minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve it steaming hot in giant bowls with some crusty french bread, crispy drop biscuits, or Saltines. If you’d like, let the soup cool then pour it into Ziploc or Glad containers, and freeze it, or take it over to your neighbors for a tasty holiday treat!
You can use this same method for hams, turkeys, and even roasts. It allows you to clean out your refrigerator, use your leftovers again, and keep those colds at bay!