I’m on a roll! Mostly because I wasn’t sure how long I could leave raw discounted chicken in the fridge…also because I was looking for some procrastination (damn you middle school lesson plans!) and what better 3 hour activity than making your own soup from scratch?!
So, last night I came straight home after work, pulled up some recipes for chicken soup, and just went for it. Thanks so much for the advice in the comments section of the Tuesday Soup post! It came in very handy as I was boiling away 🙂 I also made some reference to these lovely recipes, and ended up making things up as I went in a sort of instructional hodge podge:
Here’s what I did to make (what turned out to be) delicious chicken and rice soup!
2-3 stalks celery, chopped (including some leaves)
1 carrot, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 small scallion, chopped
1 leek stalk, chopped
+ (including a small amount of the green part, very finely chopped)
~500 g raw chicken (I used white meat)
7 garlic cloves, chopped
Dried parsley, thyme (substituting bay leaf), oregano, rosemary, at your discretion (but generally in that order, from most to least)
Salt and pepper
~15 cups of water (not all at once – adding as it evaporated)
First things first, prep your chicken. I decided to follow the Turkey Stock Recipe and roast the meat for some extra flavour. I didn’t add any oil or seasonings, though in future I would.
Chicken in a cake pan…because I had no roasting tray. I’d like to mention that while the roasting did seem to add an extra, smoky flavour, it did make all the juices run out. Presumably the Turkey Stock Recipe suggested it as a means of reducing the fattiness of the soup, but ultimately I wanted all those delicious oils and juices in my soup, not out of it. It also dried out the meat a little bit. Crispy skins to nibble on while cooking, though! 😛
Note to self: don’t cut so many veggies. I think I made 3 times more than I needed! I also neglected to buy a large stock pot, which made fitting the ingredients difficult.
Two pot system because I have no stock pot. I also tossed in some leftover fried chicken I had in the fridge. At first the flavour of the fried chicken took over, but as the stock become more full bodied, the fried taste mellowed out and added a hint of its own seasoning. I also dropped a 1 tsp of butter in each pot for flavour. Not sure if it did anything, but my instincts compelled me to do it!
When the chicken is tender and easily falls apart, strain and put it in the fridge to cool.
Work on the flavour of the broth, now. It should have a distinct chickeny taste, but lacks that extra something. I simmered the vegetables with some salt and pepper for extra kick. Be careful of the carrots – I didn’t realize what a distinct and bold character they add to the soup!
Starting to look like real soup!
Single-serve chicken and rice soup, ready to be frozen for a future sick day, when I’m too stuffed up and miserable to get out of bed 😉
Now I have a question for all you experienced soup-makers…
I feel like I used a lot of meat to make a soup with very little liquid in it. Granted, I cut the veggies too big, too plentifully (I have a whole bucket of unused, cut veggies in the fridge), and put a tad too much rice. I kept boiling the soup down to concentrate the flavour, and overall, I think it simmered for at least 2.5 hours, if not more (the whole event was about 3.5 hours). Every time I added water to add volume, it, unsurprisingly, became blander. How do you make an entire stock pot of flavourful soup? How do I increase the volume without sacrificing the taste? Was it because I didn’t use the whole chicken? (I reserved the drumsticks and wings for future dishes, also because my pot was too small). Maybe a lifetime of MSG-consumption has raised my expectations for flavour too high. I was also wondering how to achieve a clear, light soup. What I ended up with was a hearty, flavourful meal-soup, almost like a Campbell’s Chunky Soup. I was so full from taste-testing all throughout that I wasn’t able to have a bowl hot off the stove, and had to pack it up and refrigerate it right away 😦
Maybe I’ll make a stir fry with all these leftover ingredients.
Man, I’m making more food than one person can eat!
Well, that was my chicken soup adventure. Definitely know a lot more for next time, and despite the long cooking time, it was really simple to prepare! Please feel free to leave any tips and hints. They’re greatly appreciated! 😀