Before there was chicken broth in a box (which lasts forever) or chicken tenders that really don’t look like chicken at all or cooked chicken in shrink-wrap (which almost lasts forever), there was plain old chicken. It’s hard to believe that back in the olden days a string of dinners started with one whole chicken. Home cooks are not the wasteful sort, so roast that chicken and save the carcass for the easiest, tastiest and thriftiest homemade mom’s chicken noodle soup ever.
Making the most of your chicken: The heart and soul of chicken soup is in the bones. So toss that bony carcass from your roasted chicken into a soup pot and cover with cold water. Chances are that carcass is stuffed with all sorts of goodies from roasting such as herbs, onion, garlic, and maybe even a lemon or an apple. Keep it all in there as you bring the whole thing to a boil for easy, wholesome seasoning.
Clean broth: As the broth cooks and comes to life, you’ll notice all sorts of unpleasantries floating on top such as skin, fat, bones; you get the picture. To separate all that from the golden broth, simply line a colander with wet paper towels. Freeze this contraption for 5 minutes until the paper towels are frozen. Pass the soup through the frozen colander to trap all of the yucky bits leaving pure broth. Do make sure to pluck the straggler chicken pieces out to add back into the soup.
Soup add-ins: Celebrity chefs and professional cooks will argue that chicken broth should start with uncooked chicken, not leftovers, to maximize flavor. This is true. However, this is a great option and yields deliciously flavored soup. It’s also a home cooks prerogative to doctor the broth with a chicken bouillon. It’s still made with love, just like moms.
- 1 chicken carcass (from a roasted 3-4 lb chicken)
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 celery stalk, peeled and sliced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- ½ cup dry egg noodles
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large soup pot, place leftover chicken. Pour in only enough water to cover (about 3 quarts). Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer and cook about 2 hours.
- Line a colander with several layers wet paper towels and freeze for about 5 minutes. Pour the soup through the frozen paper towels to catch the chicken parts. There’s still a lot of good chicken in there, so make sure you add back into the broth. Repeat this process again and you’ll have about 1 quart of clear, fat free broth. You may need to boil the broth to reduce it to 1 quart. If the broth tastes slightly weak, add a chicken bouillon or two (its okay, you’re a home cook!)
- When the broth is ready, add carrots, onions, celery and noodles. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook about 15 minutes (Note: it is not necessary to cook the veggies first. They will cook in the broth and take on the delicious chicken flavor. The uncooked noodles will cook in the broth and the starch will give the broth body).