Cheater’s Chicken Soup

10 Jan

Chicken Soup

(I’m posting this so soon after my last post by popular demand!)

Making chicken soup from scratch can be expensive (especially with kosher chicken). Making it from powdered soup mix is disgusting. Here’s a cheap and easy way to get home-made flavor!

Start by making roast chicken (see my post from January 9, 2013). After you remove the chicken from the roasting pan, pour the “juice” into a glass or plastic tub with a lid. Add a half-inch of water to the roasting pan and swish it around to deglaze the pan, then add that liquid to the tub. Cool a bit, cover and refrigerate. The fat will rise to the top and harden and you can scrape it off. (You can throw it out, or save it to use in place of margarine in cooking.)

Use the “juice” within a week or freeze it. It makes a great base for soup — enough for two. Add some cut-up carrot and/or celery, fresh or dried dill, salt and pepper and cook till the carrots are soft, then add cooked noodles and you’ve got a great chicken soup! Or use it as a base for another soup that calls for chicken or vegetable stock.

Want more soup? After you’ve carved up the roast chicken, freeze the carcass. When you’ve accumulated three or four carcasses, thaw them and place them in a large pot with a cut-up onion, a peeled, cut-up carrot, a stalk of celery and some fresh or dried dill. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for a few hours. Cool slightly, then strain in a colander lined with cheesecloth. Add salt and pepper to taste, and add any chicken “juice” (see above) that you’ve saved from roasting a chicken.

With three chicken carcasses, you can make more than a half-gallon of soup. If it tastes a little weak after you first strain it, cook it down a bit to concentrate the flavor. Or you can add a bit of powdered chicken stock to strengthen it — it won’t spoil the flavor.

Note: you can cook this soup a long time. Once I put it on the simmer burner at 6 p.m., planning to finish it at 9 when I returned from a meeting. Well, we both totally forgot about it until the next morning, so it had simmered more than 12 hours. No harm done – the soup was very flavorful.

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