Sunday, April 26, 2015

Chicken Noodle Soup from a leftover roasted chicken

Looking at this, I wish I had added some sliced mushrooms to it. Sigh! Next time!!!

About once a week now, I stop by the grocery store deli on my way home from work and pick up some chicken. Sometimes it is wings, sometimes chicken tenders, but most often its a whole roasted chicken. I like the whole chicken, because then I have leftovers! A whole roasted chicken is such a deal for me because it costs about $6-8, depending on where you buy it, and I get a dinner and a pot of soup or a pasta dish later. I can use whatever veggies and pastas I happen to have on hand to make the magic all happen.

I never throw away the carcass without making some bone broth with it first! Basically, you eat the chicken for dinner one night, then put the leftovers in the refrigerator. The next day you pluck off all the good leftover chicken meat and put it aside in a container, then put the carcass into a stock pot and fill it with water and cook it for a few hours. I like to add a few stalks of celery and carrots, along with some onion, and a couple of cloves of garlic and a bay leaf, and season it with salt, pepper and garlic. Usually, I save the ends of the onion that I have trimmed off to use in my chicken stock. That's because after you make the stock, you strain out all the vegetables and bones and skin from the chicken carcass and discard that. Then you make your soup using fresh vegetables that you are not going to cook to death. You can also add a few sprigs of fresh parsley and thyme if you have it on hand.

For a little deeper flavor in my chicken noodle soup, I have been carmelizing an onion or two in my crock pot while the broth simmers on the stove. I start with two teaspoons of butter and an equal amount of olive oil in the crock with the sliced onions. Turn it on high and let them cook for two hours, stirring every now and then. The onion cooks and browns and develops beautiful flavor. This could be just the start of a French Onion Soup, but today its going to have other vegetables and some chicken meat in it.

When the broth has simmered on the stove for a good long while and sucked out all the goodness from the leftover chicken bones and skin and bits of meat, its time to strain it. I put my strainer right over the crock pot and ladled the broth through it into the crock bowl. Then I discarded the veggies and carcass remains that were left in the stock pot. Now I have a rich broth with carmelized onions and am ready to build my Chicken Noodle Soup.

I add to sliced celery and carrots to the broth and let that cook for about 15 minutes on low. The idea here is not to cook these veggies to the point of mush. Next, I season the broth a little more, adding salt, pepper, ginger*, thyme, rosemary, basil and a dash or two of soy sauce*. I still wasn't happy, so I added a teaspoon of my onion soup mixture that has turmeric in it. I could leave out the soy and ginger, but I think I like a more Asian tint to the broth these days. Sliced mushrooms would have been genius here, too, but I didn't think of them at the time. Anyway, I put the Asian-y stuff in parenthesis in the recipe, so you can decide which way you want to go with it).

Next, I chop up some kale or spinach and a good bunch of parsley (or cilantro) and put that in, give it a good stir, then add spaghetti (or ramen) noodles. After about 10 minutes, I stir in the leftover cooked chicken from the night before, check my seasonings, and soup's ready to serve!

Leftover Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

One chicken carcass, skin, bones and all!
Stock pot full of water
Salt, pepper, garlic
Half an onion
2-3 celery stalks
1-2 carrots
2-3 garlic cloves
bay leaf

Bring to a simmer and let it cook for 1-2 hours. Strain and save the broth for soup.

2 tsp. butter and olive oil

Meanwhile, in a crock pot, carmelize a sliced onion with some butter and olive oil on high for 1-2 hours.

My own onion soup mix

8 cups chicken broth
carmelized onions
1 tsp each dried thyme, basil, rosemary
Salt, pepper, garlic, *(ginger)
1 tsp. onion soup mix
*(2 Tbs soy sauce)
3-4 sliced carrots
3-4 stalks sliced celery
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped parsley *(or cilantro)

2 cups chopped spinach or kale
6 oz. spaghetti or ramen noodles
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces

Start with the broth and carmelized onions, add the seasonings and taste. At this point I added my onion soup mixture and some soy sauce. The add in the carrots, celery, mushrooms and let them cook for about 15 minutes. Add the pasta and spinach and cook for another 10-15 minutes, then stir in the chicken (its already cooked!) and serve.

Chicken noodle soup that I made tonight with vermecelli noodles and some leftover sauteed squash. More traditional in taste and appearance, no soy sauce. I used one tablespoon of my Onion Soup Mix in the broth.

Onion Soup Mix

2/3 C dried minced onion
3 tsp. parsley flakes
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Use 4 Tbs. in a recipe in place of 1 packet of store-bought onion soup mix. Makes enough to fill a pint mason jar.

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