December 29, 2012

Chicken Soup

Nothing beats homemade chicken soup on a snowy, cold winter day, don't you agree? When I was growing up my mom would make the soup and my dad would make the homemade noodles -- it was soooo good! It was one of my absolute favorite things to eat. Now my twelve year old son feels the same way.  He always gets excited when I make chicken soup.  Here is how I make it using the bones of a roasting chicken or turkey (I think turkey has the best flavor).

Chicken Soup
Chicken or Turkey bones
1 1/2 teaspoons parsley
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 stalks of celery, sliced*
3 - 4 carrots, sliced
1 small onion, whole
2 -3 teaspoons chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon salt

Put your bones in a large pot and cover with as little water as possible.  Bring to a boil.Turn heat down to low; cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours (you want it to be a nice yellow color).

Drain in a large colander.  Then pour broth through a fine mesh strainer.  At this point, I let it cool and then refrigerate.  You want the fat to come to the top.  I typically refrigerate it overnight but you don't have to.

Once the fat has risen to the top, I skim the top of the broth to remove it.  This will make your soup less greasy.  Put the broth on top of the stove and heat over medium heat.

Turn heat down to low and then add the rest of the ingredients.  Cover and simmer for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.  At this point, taste the broth.  If it needs more flavor, add more bouillon, salt and/or pepper.  Remove bay leaves.  Add cooked noodles if desired and serve.

*Can use 2 Tablespoons dried celery

Tips:  If you don't have enough bones to make a pot of soup, freeze what you have in freezer bags.  Keep adding to it until you have enough.  Of course, you can also freeze the bones if you want to make soup at a later time or you could make the broth, freeze that, and then continue with the rest in the future.

Keep in mind that you don't just have to use the bones.  There will be more flavor if there is a little bit of meat on the bones (dark meat adds more flavor).  If you don't eat the wings, throw that into the pot as well -- all the pieces and parts will give it a flavor boost.  After all, straining the broth will remove those extras.

Play around with the flavor a little bit.  Lemon basil adds a wonderful taste to your soup as well as thyme. The more carrots you use, the sweeter the soup will be.

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