Saturday, December 17, 2011

Weekend Cooking...The World's Best Chicken Soup

When the weather turns chilly..if it ever does here in NJ...there is nothing as warming as some soup and in my mind the King of Soups is Chicken Noodle.

And if I do say so myself, I make a very good chicken soup. Perhaps, the World's Best.

So what is my secret?
And should I share it?

Well, it is Christmastime, so it will be my gift to you, my dear readers.
It is all about the stock.
And my stock is very easy, and very cheap and takes days.
Yes, days.
But days when you do nothing to it, just let it bubble away.

I have tried many thing to make chicken stock. Necks, wings, even chicken feet which was rather creepy. And the best thing to make stock are the carcasses from rotisserie chickens. Ever so often I get one from Sam's Club and when I have eaten all the meat, I crush the carcass a bit, put it in a gallon freezer bag and stick it in the freezer. When I have three frozen ones, perfect for my stock pot, it is stock time!

I put the bones in a 10 gallon stock pot, with several roughly chopped onions, carrots, celery. Add a handful of whole peppercorns, a few bay leaves and fill to cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cover and leave it simmering, very low, two or three days. Yes, days.

At that point, I get another big pot and put a colander on top of it and using a big skimmer, scoop out all the bones and depleted veggies. Then I strain the liquid into that same smaller pot through a fine mesh stainer to catch any solids. You have a  gallon or two of very rich stock to use or freeze.

One final, very important step. Got this tip from an old Jewish grandmother. You have very hot stock and you want to put it in the frig. If you just put it in the frig hot, it will actually lower the temperature of the whole frig. Not good. If you let it set out to cool, it reaches a temp when it is the perfect temperature for bacteria to grow, which can give it a sour, off taste. At best.
So...fill your sink 1/2 way with cold water, add some ice, put the hot pot in the cold water and stir. In about 5 minutes it will be cool and you can put it in the frig overnight. All the grease will rise to the top overnight where you can skim it off. I then pour it into freezer bags to put in the deep freeze, if I am not using it at one.

Ok, so where is the soup?
Just 15 minutes or so away!
When you want to make the soup, I take a bag of stock out of the freezer and put it in a pot, frozen, over low heat to defrost. Meanwhile, I prepare what I will add. I chop a couple of carrots, some onion and celery and when the stock is hot, I add then to the stock to cook, about 10 minutes. It is at this point that I add salt to taste and adjust the stock. It may actually be too strong and you need to add a bit of water. I also start a pot of boiling water and add wide noodles (they cook in 10 minutes), tri-color tortellini (6 minutes), thin noodles (3 minutes), so in 10 minutes they are all perfectly cooked in the one pot.
Now, personally, I usually keep the noodles separate from the stock until shorty before I serve it so they do not overcook and get mushy.
Then I put it all together.
Stock with veggies.
Add pre-cooked noodles.
Add shredded roasted or poached chicken and at the last minute, a good amount of baby will wilt down a great deal

Top with a little grated Parmesan cheese and serve!

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. Grandmothers have the best tips :)

    I like your suggestion about crushing the carcasses and putting them in the freezer. I've tried using necks and other bones when I make chicken soup for my husband and daughter, but never feet -- I just couldn't get past the way they look.

  2. Yum, yum, yum. Nothing beats a good homemade stock.

    I used to make stock all the time but I no longer feel like taking all that time. When I have a chicken carcass on a weekend, I might make a quick stock in the pressure cooker, but generally I've gotten lazy in my old age. LOL

  3. This sounds like a lot of work, but really isn't and the soup sounds wonderful. I am going to give this a try in January when my soup craving is at its peak.
    Thanks for sharing this delicious soup.

  4. Wow, that looks fantastic! So different from soups that are just brothy!

  5. That’s very sound advice to keep stock handy as a base for soups. I wish I could remember to do it and not start from scrrach every time. Your soup looks delicious.

  6. It must really be soup weather now in NJ. TBG makes a mean chicken soup but yours looks excellent. I like the idea of spinach in it. Sometimes if I've made risotto and there is some leftover, I will throw that in the soup. Yummmy!

  7. I wonder if you could make stock in a crock pot and, if so, how long it would take. Your soup does look wonderful!

  8. I have an old Jewish grandmother, she'd kill me if I said old, LOL, but I never heard that trick, fantastic. Thanks! Your soup looks amazing! When it's cold was it like gelatin? That's how my Nana knew her soup was just right (for her!)

  9. Years ago I used to make everything from scratch...everything except stock. That soup looks really good!
    Here's My Weekend Cooking

  10. Genuis! Now I have an excuse to buy rotisserie chickens! I will definitely put this in my cookbook! Thanks and it does look so delicious! merry Christmas

  11. Confession time... I've never made my own stock! Your post has inspired me and, like Peggy says, provides a perfect excuse to buy rotisserie chicken.

  12. This sounds (and looks) delicious! I like the cooling hint.

  13. I love your detailed step by step instructions. I can tell you enjoy cooking more than me, as we do buy rotissarie chickens, but I never bother making soup out of it:(

  14. Great tip about the cooling. Thank you! I've always wondered about leaving things out too long.

  15. Ooh, I have chicken noodle soup on the menu for tonight's dinner, but I didn't think about adding tortellini (just egg noodles). I think I have some in the pantry - thanks for the great suggestion!


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!