Friday, August 21, 2009

Making Chicken Soup

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Last night, I made chicken soup for dinner. When it's just the four of us, I can get 3 meals out of a good sized chicken. The first night, I'll use the legs (for the boys) and thighs (for the grownups!) in something that calls for parts - fried, or in Peruvian chicken stew. Or, I'll roast the whole thing and just eat the leg quarters the first night. Moving on, I separate the wings from the breast, leaving a good amount of meat at the joint of the wing. I'll use the breast for something that calls for cut up or shredded chicken. Aji de gallina or maybe a stir-fry. Finally, I'll use the wings, feet, neck and liver to make soup.

Yeah, you heard me. Feet.

Don't you judge me!

So - long intro later, with my mom and Nicky visiting, I can only get 2 nights out of a chicken. We had fried chicken Wednesday night, and last night I made chicken soup. This is how I did it.

I had a half breast and a wing left over from frying, plus the feet and neck. I put all of that in my stock pot with a whole onion and a whole carrot and a 4 finger pinch of salt. (That's where you use your thumb and and three fingers to grab salt out of the bag - it's about a tablespoon in my case) Covered it with water, and brought it to a boil, then let it simmer for about an hour.

Once the chicken was done, I ran it through a strainer into my OTHER stock pot. You can use a large bowl or whatever you've got - the point is to get the stock clear and clean. I don't like little bits of unknown chicken parts and skin and stuff floating in my soup. Toss out the onion, cut up the carrot. Put your broth back on the stove. Now at this part, I do what some people might consider cheating - I toss in a couple of bouillon cubes. I like my soup really chicken-y. I also added about a teaspoon of poultry seasoning(I used a spicy one), 2 minced garlic cloves and a bay leaf.

This is when I added another chopped up raw carrot to the broth and let it start cooking. Save the already cooked carrot to drop in at the end - you don't want it over cooked. I also cut up a couple potatoes in bite size pieces and put that in. While the veggies are cooking, I worked on getting all the meat off the chicken carcass. I set the feet aside -- if you cook them too long, they start falling apart, and I know not everyone wants pieces of chicken feet in their soup. But my boys love them, so I saved it aside for them. Dump the meat into the soup. Let the veggies cook for about 20 minutes, and then add the other cooked carrot from earlier AND about 150 grams of spaghetti. Well, that's what I usually add - last night I used up a pack of alphabet noodles that I had hanging around. Let it cook until the noodles are soft, then give it a taste. Add salt and pepper to your taste.

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