Here is how I make chicken soup, and why I do it. I think chicken soup is one of the most economical and delicious meals out there. Here is why –
- Buy a grilled chicken at the store. It can be plain or flavored, but it has to be cooked – it is just faster and easier that way. The cost is about $8 maybe at most, and should last as the main protein for a couple of meals at least. You can eat chicken pieces on their own, make tacos with chicken pieces, or add chicken to salads, egg dishes, or pastas.
- Once most of the easily detachable meat has been eaten, pull all the rest of the meat off, and separate meat from bones and leftover skin and fat drippings. Place meat into a small container, add to meals, or just eat plain. Place bones, skin, fat and drippings into a soup pot.
- Vegetables are not absolutely necessary, and are additional elements that will add a lot of flavor. Prepare your vegetables if you have any. Use whatever you have on hand. There is a simple formula – use a few root vegetables, some greens, and an onion. Root vegetables I use – rutabaga, swede, potatoes, carrots, parsnips. Greens I use – celery, broccoli stalks. Onions can be yellow, white, leeks, or red onions. I use whatever I have in the fridge. Today I had a red onion, a few potatoes, carrots, and celery. To prepare the vegetables you have to wash them thoroughly, cut off the ends, peel the skin off, and you are all set. See the picture to know what you are looking for.
- Prepare herbs and spices. I usually use salt – about 1/4 teaspoon for a pot, full peppercorns of black pepper – a handful, some bay leaves, some green fresh or dried herbs, usually sage, thyme or rosemary, and today I have also added fresh ginger.
- Place all the chicken bones, skin, vegetables, and herbs in a pot. Cover with water and let the water boil for several hours at low heat until the soup changes in color, and you start smelling it.
- The broth is ready. Taste it. You can add more salt if you like. Strain your broth getting rid of all of the bones, boiled vegetables and herbs. Leave the broth on the counter to cool before placing in the fridge.
- Now you can make soup out of your broth. If you are not going to use it, you can freeze the broth. If you want to use it, you can make some soup out of it. Here are some suggestions – you can add chopped carrots, celery to the broth, then add some small pasta pieces, and at the end add your reserved chicken pieces – and you get yourself a chicken soup. You can also make soup with some odds and ends like chopped garlic, some rainbow chard, some leftover meat, and fresh cilantro. Adjust flavors to taste – and enjoy!
- By the way, chicken soup can also be modified for leftover turkey! Leftover duck, leftover pork even!
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