I broke out the soup pot the other day about the time I turned on the furnace for a little while. By the end of the day, the house was still fragrant from the chicken soup, my belly was warm with it, and I had excellent leftovers in the refrigerator, too. This is a wonderful thing to do on a chilly Sunday afternoon to warm the house and your mood.
Forthwith, the recipe followed by the two-question quiz! See if you can get both answers. Heck, I may even award a prize. (By the way I’ve decided I need to be more consistent about running recipes that you can actually cook from, although I reserve the right to make a crack here or there in the text.)
- 1 meaty chicken carcass
- 1 1/2–2 quarts water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 or more sprigs each Italian parsley and thyme
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1/4 large onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1/2 pound tender young green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized lengths
- Parsley for garnish (optional)
- Cut any remaining chunks of chicken meat off carcass. (They’ll be more tender than if simmered with broth.) Cover and refrigerate the trimmings for now. Place carcass in 5-quart pot. (Go ahead and include the skin and any herbs or vegetables that you may have left in the cavity. Also, if you roasted your chicken, as I did, remove fat from the drippings and definitely add the pan juices or gelatin.)
- Add water, salt, bay leaf, parsley and thyme. Cover, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer about an hour. If you have time, let the pot sit for 30-60 minutes more, which will make the next step easier.
- Lift carcass from broth. I use a skimmer (like one of these) for the task. By now, remaining meat should be readily identifiable. Remove using tools or fingers and set aside. Discard bones and skin. Meat on left was post-simmering, on the right was presimmer. Total was about 1 1/2 cups chicken.
- Pour broth through strainer to remove solid bits. Ideally, pour into a fat separator (I recommend a glass one; the plastic ones lose their structural integrity after you pour hot liquids in them many times) and then return broth to pan, minus the fat. Note: There was more broth than what’s in the photograph.
- Add rice and onions to pan; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 35 minutes. Add carrots and chicken meat that you removed in steps 1 and 3. (Dice chicken if desired.) Simmer 10 minutes. Add green beans and simmer 10 minutes, or until rice, carrots and beans are tender.
- Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve. Makes 4 generous servings.
Notes: If you don’t want vegetables in your soup, add the carrots and onions in bigger pieces while simmering the whole carcass. I highly recommend a fat separator as a great labor-saving device. I probably would have used peas if I’d had them instead of beans, but beans are good. If you have beens that are more mature, you might want to add them at the same time as the carrots.
And now, the quiz
OK, ready to answer the questions?
- Can you identify in step 2 the color of the pot?
- What’s wrong with the fat separator? (Hint: It has nothing to do with the fat-separating aspect of the thing.)
The quiz is just for fun, but I’d love to see how many of you can answer correctly!