Cook the Story

Tales of a Leftover Chicken Episode I: Soup to Feel Better About the News

I haven’t been feeling great lately. I have bronchitis. Worse. yesterday morning I woke up to disappointing news from my home country. I’m not going to get into the details here because:

  • it’s way too upsetting and I don’t want to ruin your day;
  • it’s very political – I’ll wait until we know each other better before showing you my openly bleeding heart;
  • if you’re Canadian it’s obvious what I’m upset about so I won’t bore you. If you’re from elsewhere, I hear that the news is spreading and is being taken as a signal of things to come. I certainly hope not *sigh*.

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about and want to find out, here are some links: A Bit of Good but Mostly Bad and Ugly ; Especially upsetting is the very last paragraph of this one.)

Anyhow, regardless of whether you are similarly disappointed or of whether you also have bronchitis, you probably agree that there are days when the comfort of chicken soup is required. Yesterday was that day for me. I therefore begin my recurring series Tales of a Leftover Chicken with:

Deep Dark Chicken Soup for a Deep Dark Day

Printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

Serves 4

I make this version of chicken soup when I’m starting with leftover roast chicken: very little meat but lots of bones and skin. There’s usually also a neck bone and some giblets. The soup gets its dark colour and rich flavour from a long-browning of all ingredients prior to the addition of liquid.

  • 2 tbsp chicken fat or butter
  • a chicken neck bone and giblets
  • salt (to taste)
  • a chicken carcass and any skin that managed to escape scavenging fingers
  • 1/2 of a large onion, peeled or not
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 2 stalks of celery, trimmed of brown ends
  • a handful or two of any kind of mushroom, you can leave on tough stems
  • a bell pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup red or white wine (optional)
  • assorted herbs (whatever you have, a handful of fresh arugula, parsley or basil, a couple sprigs of rosemary or thyme, a combination of all. You can use dried herbs. I like a bay leaf and 1/2 tsp each of rosemary, thyme and sage)
  • 7 whole peppercorns
  • coarsely ground black pepper (to taste)
  • however much leftover chicken meat you have, roughly chopped
  • leftover roasted vegetables (optional)
  • 1 cup cooked sliced carrots (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, defrosted (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked noodles (definitely not optional)

Warm the chicken fat or butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the neck bone and the giblets. Season liberally with salt (about 1 teaspoon). Stir.

Remove any meat from the chicken carcass, reserve it for later. If it’s too fiddly to start taking the meat off the wings, just toss them whole into the pot. Break up the carcass a bit and add it to the pot. Also add the bits of skin. Stir occasionally while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Cut the onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms and pepper (if using) into large chunks. Add them to the pot. Stir. Increase heat to medium high. Allow to cook, scraping the bottom of the pot a few times, until everything is a deep dark brown color, 20-25 minutes. If at any point you are unable to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot, add the wine or 1/4 cup water and then try again.

Once it is well-browned add enough water to just cover everything by a bit, about 3 cups. Toss in the herbs and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, partially cover the pot and simmer for at least 30 minutes or for as long as an hour. Taste and add more salt and some ground black pepper if necessary.


Strain the broth into a bowl or pot through a fine mesh sieve.

 

Add the leftover chicken meat and leftover roasted vegetables, cooked sliced carrots or defrosted peas, if using.


Put 1/2 cup cooked noodles into a soup bowl. Fill bowl with hot tap water. Strain off the water and then ladle on some dark chicken soup. Let me know if it makes you feel any better. It has certainly helped with my bronchitis if not with my dismay.

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Find out about this Cook the Story recurring series and the other recurring series here.

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Get more chicken recipes and info about chicken at Foodista:

Whole Chicken

Comments
18 Responses to “Tales of a Leftover Chicken Episode I: Soup to Feel Better About the News”
  1. Kristina says:

    There is something soothing about making a soup. This one looks wonderful, and there’s something to be said for having control over something, even if it’s just what’s in the pot.

    • Christine says:

      Yes! Control. I bet that *is* what I was searching for. I feel powerless here in the US where I can’t vote while also feeling very removed from Canada and all that is going on there. Kristina, I’m sure you understand exactly what I mean!

      • Kristina says:

        As a staunch supporter of the right to choose to drink alcohol, buy pornography, have sex, have an abortion, etc., who lives in U T A H, yeah…I hear you, honey. Solidarity, sister.

  2. Totally not sure how to feel about the election. More than a bit worried with that majority. However, chicken soup should help both you and your sad heart.

    • Christine says:

      Yeah, the majority is worrisome. It could be really interesting and…well…good though to have the very much opposed NDP with a strong voice. I am particularly intrigued by the results in Quebec. Quebec tends to be loud in government and I imagine there will be battles (even if only in words since the actual number of votes won’t be able to actually stop anything).

  3. I just read the article you were pointing too… very interesting. I had no idea. Sorry that your not feeling well on both fronts. The soup looks wonderful, though!

    • Christine says:

      Thanks Katie! Yes, the soup is wonderful. Thank you! And yes, Canadian politics rarely make it this far south. That’s o.k. though. I manage to keep up to date and to get just as upset whether I hear it in the news or have to go searching for the details online.

  4. The Mrs says:

    Oh Chris! I’m so sorry about the bronchitis. Double whammy. Gr.

    Feel VERY BETTER, VERY SOON.

    Also: yum, yum. Loving that “chicken carcass” is the word of the day.

    • Christine says:

      Thanks Mrs! I’m feeling a tad better every day. Funny thing just happened. The walk-in clinic I went to on Sunday just called to check up on me and see how I’m feeling. That has NEVER happened to me before. The cynic in me is assuming it must have something to do with the difference between American and Canadian health care systems. But maybe they just care?

      • The Mrs says:

        The cynic in me is right there with you. But, in the absence of concrete evidence that they see $$$$$ Pittman when they look at your patient file, let’s assume that they genuinely care about your well-being like the rest of us.

        -Sandi

  5. Carla says:

    My heart bleeds with yours, and I am super proud that my province covered itself with the orange banner. That being said, I would love to try this recipe, and since I have had a migraine for 2 days Lipton is as close as I will get for now … *sigh*. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Christine says:

      I was amazed at the Quebec results. Not being in Can, I don’t feel like I really know what’s going on anymore. Did the Bloc just disappear??? Whatever the reason, it is an interesting and delightful result. And let’s not all forget that in Parliament Quebec is usually a force to be reckoned with. If that holds true, we may be in for some very good fights!

      I do love me a bowl of Liptons Chicken Noodle. I usually make a quick dumpling batter to drop into it as it simmers. My mom used to do this when we were kids. Such comfort food now! The dumplings turn yellow from the odd color of the broth and they get noodles and flecks of green stuck in them. That may not sound appetizing but I assure you it’s brilliant. It totally makes the simple bowlful into a hearty meal. I don’t have an exact recipe but here’s what I do: whisk up an egg. Add a dash of salt and a splash of milk. Stir. Add a couple tbsp of flour, stir. If it’s nice and thick, you’re good to start dropping glops of it into simmering soup. If not, add more flour. They take about as long to cook as the soup does but I usually fish one out and cut it open to make sure it’s done.

  6. Liz says:

    I love chicken soup. It’s so simple, and it can be a complete meal in one bowl. This one looks like it has a lot of flavor. I’m looking forward to trying it out!

    I wish you a speedy recovery. It always seems to me like the hot weather makes it more difficult to kick a bug. And politics? That, in and of itself, is enough to make you sick!

    • Christine says:

      Y’know, I don’t remember ever being sick as often as I’ve been since J was born. I feel like I’m on antibiotics every second month. As for the politics, I am a bit removed from it (so many many miles away) so you’d think it would bother me less. Not so. That just makes me fearful of how I’m going to feel here in 2012 *sigh*.

  7. phyllis says:

    This soup looks awesome. Browning all the ingredients sure do make a lovely colored broth.

    • Christine says:

      Yes, it’s much darker and richer than normal chicken broth. The mushrooms help with the meatiness as well. Adding a touch of soy sauce and/or fish sauce would boost it’s darkness and meatiness even further.

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