Tales Of A Leftover Chicken: Staying Off My Feet & Simply Silky Squash Soup
On Monday we had a bit of a scare. I started having contractions, painless at first, then a little pain. When they became regularly spaced at 4 minutes apart we jumped into the car and headed for the hospital.
I’m only 32 weeks pregnant so we were seriously hoping that the baby was not coming (the little one is still way too little!). After a couple of hours in triage and another couple of hours hooked up to monitors, I was given a pill and the pre-term contractions stopped. Hooray!
But, I’ve been told to take it easy and to stay off my feet as much as possible. Ha! Do you know that we’re moving to a new house in 2.5 weeks? Do you have any idea how much needs to be done?
Well, I’m doing my best to rest. We’re hiring some local teens to help with the bulk of the packing. I’ve been getting the house ready for showings gradually and slowly throughout the day so I’m never swiffering or picking up toys for more than 10 minutes at a time. It’s fine. It will all be fine. I know it will be fine. You agree right? It’s all going to be just fine.
What’s suffering most is my brilliant plan to get loads of blog posts pre-done so they’re ready to go up when I find myself with zero time after the baby comes. If you’re not a food blogger, you’re probably thinking, “What’s the big deal? Just sit on your butt (as the docs have requested) and TYPE.” If you are a food blogger, you know exactly what the big deal is. It’s not the typing that I can’t get done. It’s all the recipe testing and photo shoots.
Don’t get me wrong, I *love* recipe testing and have even come to love the photo shoots (still frustrating and difficult but so satisfying when I manage to get an o.k. picture). However, these activities require that I be the exact opposite of on-my-butt, and often that I be frantically running around the kitchen trying to jot down what I’m doing, photograph it and somehow manage to not burn anything.
I fear that recipes and nice-ish pics may disappear from this blog for a little while. I apologize in advance if you start getting My Opinion Wednesdays and Thursdays to go along with all the My Opinion Mondays. And if I stop talking about food altogether and just start randomly rambling, well, I’ll blame the hormones and hope that you stick with me until I’m back to normal.
This week, to keep things very simple and to keep me mostly off my feet, I made a basic roast chicken. So easy to just toss some veggies and potatoes into a roasting pan, top them with a lightly seasoned chicken and throw it all into the oven. Unfortunately, I’ve already posted about a very simple chicken (The Naked Bird can be found here) and thus feel like it would be cheating to do so again.
Instead, I’ll share what I did with some of the leftovers. I made stock from the carcass, of course. Not the deep dark broth I told you about here but a more basic light stock. The recipe is at the bottom of this page.
From that stock, I made the most luscious butternut squash soup. This is the same soup that I made for my birthday dinner last week. It was simple and satisfying so I knew it was perfect for a day when I’m supposed to stay off my feet.
This soup can be served as is or you can add some leftover chopped cooked chicken or some cooked white beans (either or both added at the same time as the evaporated milk so they get a chance to warm through). Bits of crusty bread and a little wedge of brie are the perfect accompaniments.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb (about 3 cups) peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 4 cups chicken stock (see recipe below)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup evaporated milk (or 1/2 cup heavy cream)
- Heat butter over medium-low heat in a large pot. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, stir. Increase heat to medium-high and clinkety-clank in the cubes of squash. Cook for 4-6 minutes giving it the odd stir just until some of the cubes start to brown a bit in places.
- Add the broth and the salt to the pot. Bring it up to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover partially and cook until the squash easily breaks apart when pricked with a fork, 4-5 minutes.
- Purée using either a submersion blender or in batches using a regular blender (don’t put the lid on the blender but cover with a clean dish towel instead).
- Strain the puréed soup through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl (if you used a submersion blender) or back into the pot (if you used a regular blender). Either way, you may need to stir within the sieve to get it all to go through. Save the pulpy stuff left in the sieve for baking (add it to some banana bread, yum!) or discard it. If it’s not already in the pot, return the strained soup to the pot.
- Add the evaporated milk and warm the soup over low just to heat it through.
This is the stock I regularly make from the chicken carcass the day after we’ve had a roast chicken. Remove any meat and save it for another use. You just want the skin and bones here.
- 1 chicken carcass with any bits of skin that were leftover
- 2 whole stalks of celery
- 2 whole carrots
- 1 onion, halved (skin on or off)
- 1 head of garlic (left intact, skins on)
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 8-10 peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- a dash of dried thyme and/or rosemary and/or a sprig or two of any fresh herbs you have on hand
- Put all ingredients into a large pot. Add enough water to just cover everything.
- Bring up to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to low and partially cover. Simmer for at least 2 hours. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.