Thursdays Are For Cooking

| January 16, 2020


Basic recipes are always good, because you can add to them to suit yourself and your needs.

Chicken soup is probably as old as dirt and a lot tastier than dirt, so here’s the basic ingredient list.

Chicken – as long as it’s shredded or cut into small pieces, it doesn’t matter how much or little you prefer.  I think it’s simplest to use leftover chicken and give it a good chop or shred it.

Carrots – in a big pot, a pound of baby carrots will almost be enough. If you want more, then add them! Or you can use the full-size carrots, and wash and chop them up.

Onion – at least one big one, peeled and chopped into smaller pieces, will do nicely.

Celery – in a big pot of soup, half the stalk might be nice, but whatever you do, chop it up and also throw in the leaves as long as they’re in good shape!

Starchy stuff – Aha! This is where people split over rice versus noodles. They both take about the same amount of time to cook, but even though rice does swell up a bit when cooked it does not have the volume that pasta has. Noodles, especially good egg noodles, will swell to three times their original size and provide a lot of satisfying filler at a low cost. But if you prefer rice, there are rice mixes that make do just as well to meet your needs.

Garlic – this boosts flavor from the chicken and the broth, and it’s a cooking herb that acts in a healing capacity, too.

Chicken broth – you can make this from scratch by cooking a whole chicken and skimming the foam off the broth, or buy it in cartons and cans, or buy the dry bouillon. They all have their uses. If you’re going to make your own chicken broth, the fat, which is yellow, is important to flavoring the broth. And if you really want the best home-made chicken broth, you can do what my sister used to do: buy chicken feet, scrub the crap out of them, and simmer them over a slow flame in a pot. The fat in chicken feet adds the nice, inviting yellow to the broth as well as a lot of flavor. I am not going to do that. I’ll just buy it. It’s simpler, and I won’t have the cat hanging out in the kitchen looking for the source of that wonderful scent.

You will also probably want to add the following: thyme, bay leaf, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. You can add a bit of grated lemon peel – not a lot! – for a little pop in flavor, or throw in a teaspoon or two of Mrs Dash Lemon & Garlic (salt free) seasoning.

And yes, it is legit to use leftover chicken from KFC or McD’s, if you have it. Just remove the coating.

How to cook this? Simple: if the chicken is left over from prior meals, shred it and put that and the other ingredients in the pot, cover with cooking broth, to about two inches below the pot rim, cover loosely, and simmer on a low burner/flame for about an hour. If your pot lid does not have a vent, then place it with about a half inch space between the edge of the lid and the rim of the pot, or it will boil over and you don’t want that mess!

Chicken soup – it’s good for what ails you!


Category: Economy

Comments (8)

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  1. AW1Ed says:

    I use a big pack of thighs for the stock, along with rough cut carrots onion and celery. S&P and a poultry seasoning for flavor. Fill to cover or use the fill line on the pressure cooker (cuts WAY down on cooking time).
    When done, strain out the veg and let the thighs cool, and shred the meat from them- very easy. Your stock is done. Toss the bones and hammered veg, and use as you see fit.
    Thanks, Ex!

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Yepper, been a legs and thighs man for a long time myself. More tender, juicy, and flavorful. Use the ones off a chicken for cooking. Putting a bunch of ’em in the large crockett pot makes a real nice stock, gives yard bird for soup, shredded BBQ over rice, and some for chicken n dumplins’. Use very little added salt anymore, Mrs. Dash has worked well. (HT to Ex)

      Skillet of buttermilk cornbread or some of that real good crusty bread that Ms Thang at the K Roger bakery makes up goes real well with this. I really do need to get me another bread baking machine. I miss that puppy. But it is nice to flirt with girl friend at the K Roger.

      • AW1Ed says:

        Got MrsAW1 (well, me really) a bread machine for Christmas. This thing will also make jams and yogurt, not that I’m a big fan of spoiled milk, but these were not options for her. Have your daughter check on Amazon for one.

        Also waiting on the Ninja Foodi thing that pressure cooks and air fries, among other things. We’re going to need a bigger kitchen.

        • 5th/77th FA says:

          Good deal. That gift ain’t as nice as a matched pair of Colt Commanders, but it surely beats hell out of socks and another tie. I was repping for Panasonic and American Harvest when the FIRST consumer designed bread machines and hot air fryers came out. Doing demos at housewares shows with those and other products is what got me hooked up with ol’ Justin Wilson. I garrantee he and I had some large times.

          Both of those items are earmarked for my birthday prize to myself. I have coveted the combo unit and may look closer at it for the insta pot features.

  2. Sporkmaster says:

    Now does the flavor of the chicken come from the broth or the chicken itself. I have a lot of chicken broth and soup small noodles that I want to use for a soup.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Comes from both Sporkmaster. Using the broth kicks the flavor into overdrive and adds richness/body to it. On soups and such that use a lot of liquid the chicken flavor can “cook out/down” in the boiling process. The broth puts it back. And for people that want to claim to be vegan, using the broth convinces them that no animals were harmed in the preparation of this dish. “It’s just chicken/beef flavored.”

      Remember many a Sunday morn as a lad when Granny would go out into the back and grab the Sunday dinner yard bird. If she grabbed a rooster that meant either chicken & rice or chicken n dumplins. If she grabbed a coupla fat hens that meant the Preacher was coming for fried chicken with all the trimmings. She’d grab that bird(s) wring their necks and have them gutted and plicked in no time. The feet back and necks would go into a stock pot and low cook for chicken stock/broth purposes. The meat from those pieces would be skimmed off with the liver and gizzard to go in the cornbread dressing. Good Times!

  3. Charles says:

    My suggestion:

    Save all the bones from all chickens (even what’s left over from the rotisserie chicken you bought at Walmart for $6.99 and pulled it apart with your fingers while you watched the football game, and the bones the kids left behind from the bucket of KFC) and turkeys (Thanksgiving, etc. including the bones left over from the buffet line at the church dinner). Put them in air tight bags and freeze them. Then, when you have accumulated enough to fill a stock pot, fill a stock pot. Fill it with water and start it boiling.

    Boil it for three days.

    No, I’m not making that up.

    Boil it for three days. Stir it from time to time. When the water gets low, add more, stir it. At night, put it on ultra low simmer and just go to sleep. When you wake up, go add water and stir it.

    After three days the bones will be soft, all the gelatin will have been dissolved, the marrow will have given up all its flavor. Get rid of the bones by straining the broth through a colander.

    Add a few spoonfuls of sea salt, Himalayan salt, kosher salt, whatever. Let it cool. It will thicken up into a tan jello. Put it in Tupperware and freeze it until you are ready to make chicken soup. Use it as your base and prepare to be amazed at the flavor.

    • AW1Ed says:

      A pressure cooker will save a lot of time, and a good way to see if the bones have given up all they have is to cool off a thigh bone and see if if snaps in half- if so it’s done.

      The next trick is to put the broth in the reefer overnight, after it cools down to room temp of course. It should be so gelatinous a wooden spoon will stand up in it; now THATS good stock!