Wednesday Chicken and Rice

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:

Chicken Soup with Rice from Scratch

How to Make Turkey Stock

Here’s what I did to make (what turned out to be) delicious chicken and rice soup!

Ingredients:

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)

Process:

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.

Discount chicken! Not whole as I'd hoped, but you can't say no to a good price.
Discount chicken! Not whole as I’d hoped, but you can’t say no to a good price.
Prepare chicken for roasting. No oil or seasoning. Pop in oven.
Prepare chicken for roasting. No oil or seasoning. Pop in oven.

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! 😛

Chop celery (including leaves), carrot, onion, scallions, and leek.
Chop celery (including leaves), carrot, onion, scallions, and leek.
A delicious bouquet of veggies! (Made way too much)
A delicious bouquet of veggies! (Made way too much)

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.

Take out chicken once it's browned.
Take out chicken once it’s browned.
Boil the chicken for 45 minutes - an hour, adding garlic, spices, and a handful of veggies.
Boil the chicken for 45 minutes – an hour, adding garlic, spices, and a handful of veggies.

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!

20131120_182630

Remove chicken and cool.
Remove chicken and cool.

When the chicken is tender and easily falls apart, strain and put it in the fridge to cool.

Continue simmering the broth, adding more veggies.
Continue simmering the broth, adding more veggies.

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!

Add 1/2 cup of uncooked rice and shredded chicken.
Add 1/2 cup of uncooked rice and shredded chicken.

Starting to look like real soup!

Voila!
Voila!

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…

What do I do with all this extra meat?!
What do I do with all this extra meat?!

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! 😀


6 thoughts on “Wednesday Chicken and Rice

  1. The bones add all that boiled marrow essence seeping into broth…very healthy, and possibly part of the taste you are missing. I do add more water as it evaporates (a lid and gentle simmer helps keep the evaporation via steam minimalized). But I cheat by adding a Knorr chicken cube if needed. And Maggi…Maggi makes huge difference also. You should be able to find some there. That’s the key ingredient to my mom’s soups. The Jewish moms I used to ask at work (I asked all these questions at your age, too!) told me the secret to good flavour is in the celery leaves…put those celery leaves in by a bunch! I don’t use the skin because of the fat it adds to the soup (I usually skim off the waxy crust of fat that forms when the soup is cooled).
    To make a clear broth I strain the soup and gobble down the cooked onions and meat bits. This clear broth can be used for other recipes such as only dumplings in it, etc.
    As per your leftover chicken…stir fries for sure, sandwiches with celery and lettuce or whatever, omelettes with mushrooms, rice with chicken and mushrooms chopped small, chicken, celery, almonds and cranberries or apples as a cold salad, whatever takes your fancy! ooh…also good if you cook up a couple of onions in butter, stir in curry and toss in the chicken…serve on rice. I have a recipe with amounts if you want. But yeah…it need never get boring.
    You are amazing me no end with what you have already done.

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  2. Sauteeing the vegetables in olive oil/butter before putting the water in is a good idea to develop more flavour. Also you want some herbs in there if you have some, thyme is my fave. Re: the vegetables, if don’t want the vegetables to be too soggy at the end, divide your vegetables in two. Prepare the stock with half of them (you can cut these very roughly) and then strain when the stock is ready (I’m not sure if you did this from your explanations?). Put the other vegetables in after that, that way they’ll be nice and crisp and retain their individual flavours. Another trick is to boil the onion skins with all the other vegetables when making the actual stock, I’m told it adds colour.

    As BCP noted, the more bones you have when you’re preparing the stock, the tastier it will be. In fact, when I make broth I sometimes just buy a roast chicken, eat the meat and make the broth with the carcass only. It’s not quite as tasty because you don’t have the meat in there but it actually does the job.

    For roasting chicken parts, you definitely want to add oil/salt/pepper when roasting them–the oil will help keep the juices in. To ensure they don’t leak out all of their juice in the oven even more, start by pan-frying the chicken in oil for a few minutes on each side, until golden crisp on the outside but still uncooked on the inside, then put them in the oven. By pan-frying them before, you seal the surface of the meat and ensure all the juice can’t get out. Also oil will make the chicken skin even more golden-brown and crispy-delicious.

    Good luck!

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    1. Yeup to all that! And when locking in the juices of the meat I sear it quickly on a high heat on every side till browned on the outside but not cooked on the inside.

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