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18 November 2003 @ 09:17 pm
chicken soup for a winter's day  
Truly kickass chicken soup. Three meals had picked the little rotisserie chicken I got from SaveMart just about clean, so I popped it into the stockpot with carrot and celery. The chicken was so infused with garlic and herbs that I didn't even have to add any spices, it made a delicious with just a little salt. Didn't have any egg noodles, so I used rice vermicelli instead, and shredded in the chicken I had reserved and added a few drops of hot chili oil.

That version was yummy, but it got even better. I had strained out the chicken a little early because I was hungry and wanted to make the soup, so I thought I'd add some more water and get a little more broth out of it. It was educational; I've always been in the you can't cook stock too long camp, but going from this, one the meat starts to fall off the bones you've gotten 90 percent of everything you are going to get. I'm going to have to see if Cook's Illustrated or Alton Brown has done the experimenting to figure out the perfect process, because apparently my traditional hours of simmering can be considerably compressed.

But I still did have a little broth, so I strained out the bones and meat and left the broth to simmer with a stick of lemongrass over very low heat. Got distracted and found when I checked it that it had boiled down, but at such a low heat that it had caramelized instead of burnt. So I diluted it, fished out the lemongrass and added half the soup from yesterday in and some more shredded chicken. After tasting it, I immediately added the rest of the noodles. So good! And there still was some left for the next day.

There's a certain glow of satisfaction in getting six meals off a five dollar chicken.

ETA: I forgot the best part! I added shredded green onion to the second version of the soup. Very vietnamese, and very tasty!
 
 
 
Flitterbyflit on November 21st, 2003 02:51 pm (UTC)
Yum!

On cooking chicken stock, you can get usable stock in just two hours, and four hours gets most of the goodness out. It depends mightily upon the age of the chicken you're using, but with any bird, if you can break a bone apart in your fingers it's gotten all the goodness out. If you look at the bones they're crumbly and full of holes; all of that has turned into gelatine which makes the stock great.

The caramelization sounds great, actually, even if you didn't plan it.

And Alton recommends keeping the heat at a bare simmer, so it doesn't boil down too much. Also skimming vigilantly and using an inverted steamer to keep the contents of the stockpot down.
Lauratavella on November 21st, 2003 05:18 pm (UTC)
That's how I usually do it, until the bones are practically crumbling, but they hadn't gotten anywhere near that state in the first broth, and it still clearly had extracted most of the tasty goodness out. And I wish I could reliably do that caramelization trick! I'm afraid I'd burn it, though.

Oh, and I forgot one thing from the second version of the soup: shallots! Sliced up thin, a generous amount of them, and I heated up the soup just enough to soften them a bit. It was so yummy, I'm going to make it again with the latest carcass.