Wednesday, April 23, 2014

No Recipe- recipe: Chicken Soup

Chicken broth/soup is one of those staples that is the basis for many meals.  It's easy to make (with a little time and planning) and freezes well so it's ready to go for all those recipes that call for store bought chicken broth.

Here's what you need:

Simply put the chicken and/or bones in a large pot (I used my favorite LeCreuset-mustard yellow oval.  I kinda feel bad for the blue round pots.  They're the workhorses of my kitchen.  The yellow oval is only for big time cooking so it's not stained beyond my scrubbing capabilities and the cover isn't dinged.), cover with water -about 2-3 inches over the chicken,  add 1T vinegar, roughly chopped onion, carrots, celery, and parsnips.  Simmer on the stove, covered, over a low heat for at least 4 hours.  Here's look at the simmering soup:

Once the soup has been simmering for 4-5 hours (Or longer- it only gets better with time!) Let it cool and either refrigerate (Covered in the cooled pot.) overnight or strain.  To strain take a large mixing bowl and put a large colander inside. Using tongs take the solids out of the soup a little at a time and put into the colander to drain.  Periodically mash the solids with a large spoon to squeeze out all the yummy broth.  Toss the solids removing the meat first if you want it for chicken salad or to put back into the soup.  Pour the broth in the bowl back into the pot.  This sounds more complicated than it really is. I made a video showing how I do all this but I'm not sure what happened to it.  That's what happens when your child's cell phone dies and he/she is bored because you're all at the eye doctor.  Anyway...

Skim the broth with a fine mesh hand held strainer or use a fine mesh strainer over the bowl.  The idea is to remove all the little floaties so the broth is "clean".  (Of course it's clean but you know what I mean.)  Using a hand held strainer dip it in the broth and pull thru collecting what you can.  Dump the gunk and rinse the strainer occasionally with clean water so you don't make more work for yourself.  If you're using a strainer over the bowl use a ladle to move the broth from the pot to the strainer.  Either method takes time.  And patience.  But it's totally worth it if you're like me and a bit freaked out by unidentified soup floaties.  

If you've refrigerated the broth overnight remove the solid fat that's hardened on the top with a spoon before straining.  If you're straining first it's a good idea to put the soup into the fridge (Again, covered in the pot if it will fit in your fridge.) for at least an hour afterwards so you can easily remove some of the fat before you dig in.  It's ok to have some fat but I find overly fatty soup to have a slimy feeling.  This is one reason why I prefer my homemade floatie-free soup to most restaurants' offerings!

Here's the "clean" broth.  (Notice it's a bit cloudy?  Impatient me let it simmer too high.  Again.  Sigh... But it still tasted great!)  It's ready to freeze if you want.  

When you plan to use the broth reheat on the stove over a low heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I also like to add my pot herbs.  If you're interested in trying them yourself you can buy them here.

Now you can add veggies, noodles, rice, matzo balls,  dumplings, shredded cooked chicken, or anything that sounds good.  If adding veggies cook them in the pot over a low heat or toss in leftover cooked veggies.  If making noodles or rice cook first according to the package directions and then add to the broth.

As I said in the intro this freezes very well.  I usually put some in small 1-2 cup containers to use when making rice and other recipes.  The rest I save for soup night in a really big container.  What kind of containers?  I use my glass or ceramic bowls, casseroles, or little vintage refrigerator dishes if they're not already in use.  I worry about the plastic so I only use those when I'm out of the others.

I hope you and your family like it as much as we do!



  1. I've made chicken broth before. It's really yummy and easy but it's been awhile. Thanks for this, Sarah!

    1. It's easy but time consuming. Glad you liked the post. Thanks for reading, Aileen!