Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup 

There are really only two ways to not achieve a perfectly lovely soup: too much salt and not enough flavor. To avoid potential salt problems, add salt sparingly until the broth is finished so as it naturally reduces, it will not concentrate that flavor too much. As for richness, don’t spare adding extra carrots, celery or garlic to the pot. If it is still tasting “thin”, reduce the soup after straining by boiling until the overall volume is decreased. 

One thing I do is to save chicken carcasses or unused parts like backs from whole roasted chickens in a container in my freezer. Another trick I have learned is that it is unnecessary to peel the carrots or even remove the tops. Just make sure they are free of grit. If you want a darker color for your stock, leave on the onion skins too--it is a natural dye!

2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, wings or feet if available or the carcasses of a previously roasted bird

1 large onion, cut into quarters

3 medium carrots, cut into a few pieces

3 celery stalks, cut into a few pieces, tops included

4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1 handful of fresh parsley

a few sprigs of thyme (or a teaspoon of dried)

8 peppercorns

1 teaspoon salt

Place the ingredients into a large pot or crockpot. Add enough water to cover by at least two to three inches (depending on the size of your pot). Bring to a boil, and remove any scum that rises to the top. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer (barely bubbling) at least eight hours and even up to 24 hours to leech all the minerals out of the bones and the flavors out of the vegetables and chicken. Make sure if you are not attending the stove, or putting it on overnight, that the heat is low enough not to boil out all the water.

Strain the bones and vegetables into another bowl or pot. Taste for seasoning, reduce if the broth seems too thin and then add more salt. Refrigerate or freeze stock that you won’t use immediately. Serve alone or with additional diced cooked vegetables, rice, noodles or chicken meat.

Makes about 3-4 quarts of broth.