Home-Made Chicken Noodle Soup

Every time we have whole roasted poultry in the house I make soup afterwards.  Soup is a great thing to have in your freezer for days when you’re feeling lazy, and making soup from leftover chicken or turkey ensures that you can get every scrap of meat from that bird.

I saved the carcass and the wings from the tarragon chicken we had the other night.  If you’re not prepared to make soup right away you can always wrap up the carcass and freeze it for a later date.  Just don’t forget about it, otherwise you’ll be pulling bird bones out of your freezer for months.

Anyway, take your carcass, including wing bones or leftover thighs or whatever, plus all your skin and whatever you used to season the bird (in this case I stuffed it with lemons) and chuck it in a large pot.  Add enough water to just cover the whole thing, and drop in a spoonful or so of powdered chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let that sucker simmer for about an hour or so.

Remove from the heat and strain your broth.  I set a large colander inside a large bowl and pour the whole pot contents into that.

Then I can just lift the colander and all the broth drains out, leaving me with the bits still in the colander.

Return the broth to the pot and let the boiled carcass cool enough to handle.

Here’s where you get to play your favourite carrion bird, and you can go over that carcass and remove every last scrap of meat from every part of it. 

There’s always a lot more meat on the chicken’s back (which is usually the underside if you roast it breast-up) than you think, especially around the ribs.  Get all those little tidbits out and drop them into the broth. 

You can now discard your picked-over carcass, flabby skin, gristle, and whatever else was in the pot that isn’t meat.

Return the pot with the broth and chicken bits to the heat and bring to a boil.  At this point I like to add a bit of oregano.

Then you can pour in the noodle of your choice.  This time I used macaroni.

Boil for 10-15 minutes or until the pasta is cooked, then serve.  As I said, this stuff freezes well and it keeps in the fridge for about a week.

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Newfie Miso

I have been craving miso soup for forever and a half.

From what I’ve read, miso soup is characterized by a stock of dashi, which is composed of dried fish and/or seaweed and/or mushrooms, into which softened miso, or fermented soybean paste, is suspended.

The rest of the ingredients are up to you, really.  Traditionally the ingredients are limited to two or three items, chosen for their contrast: items that float versus items that sink, contrasting colours, textures, shapes, and flavours.   But you can put in whatever you want.I had a fun time at the Magic Wok Grocery this afternoon and I went a little crazy with possible ingredients. In this case, though, I wanted to limit myself, so I picked out preserved turnip (rather salty and crunchy), which I cut into slivers:Kai-lan, or Chinese broccoli, which is both sweeter and more sour than regular broccoli, if that makes any sense.  It’s called ‘broccoli’ for that little vestigial flower thing at the top.Also it’s nice and crisp.  I chopped it into small pieces and sort of julienned the stalks:Dried mushrooms.  Nuff said about those.  I bought all sorts of weird fungus, but I decided to take it easy on my first try and went with a western medley:A nice dark soba (buckwheat noodles) which I broke in half for easier eating:Dashi is non-existent here, so I decided to McGuyver up my own.  I used a combination of powdered vegetable stock and dulse flakes.  It’s the dulse that makes this recipe into a Newfoundland recipe, as the stuff is harvested right off the coast here.  The dried mushrooms I added to the stock early so that their essences could mingle as well.

Here is what I did.  I’ll try to quantify things for you, though I mostly just went with “some” and “a little”.

Start with about 4 cups water.  Add in 2 heaping tablespoons powdered vegetable stock and bring to a boil.Reduce heat, plop in about 3/4 cup dried mushrooms and 2 tablespoons dulse flakes and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.  This is so your mushrooms can absorb all the water they need.Add 1/4 cup slivered preserved turnip.  It gets less salty once it’s in the soup.About ten minutes before serving, chuck in a small bunch of soba.Five minutes before serving, add in about 1 1/2 cups chopped kai-lan.Dissolve about 1 1/2 tablespoons miso (I used the hatchi variation) in the broth (it’s easier to do this if you scoop out some of the broth and mash it into that first) and serve hot.

Miso is meant to be made up fresh each time, but I hear that leftover soup is also good cold.  I  could be wrong but I’m taking it for lunch tomorrow so we shall see.

Garbage Stew with Roasted Vegetables, Pork AND Bacon

So I have me here some leftover roasted vegetables.

And I have me here a slab of bacon I deemed too fatty to continue to fry up and eat for breakfast.

And I also have me here half a pork tenderloin the Pie and ate for dinner with the aforementioned roasted vegetables.  It wasn’t the tastiest of beasts.

Sounds like we have a soup in the making, folks.

I wrapped the bacon in cheesecloth to prevent me from losing it in the soup, as I intended to remove it once I was done my simmering.

I also tossed in two beef bouillon cubes for extra flavour.

I chucked everything in the pot and filled it with water until things were just covered.

Brought it to a boil, then took the lid off and let it simmer down.  Then I chucked in some pearl barley for extra heartiness.

I scooped out a bit of the broth and added a tablespoon of flour to it for thickening.  

Stir that up real good, now, and squish out all the lumps before you add it to the soup.

Stir that floury goodness in and let it bubble a bit with the lid off for about an hour.

Take out the bacon before you serve.

Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Soup

If you know me, you’ll know I don’t like soup.  Seriously.  Considering the number of soups I make I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. If I wanted to sip hot liquids I would rather have a cup of tea.  Blended soups, however, are a different story.  To me they’re like hot, savoury pudding.  Plus they look uber-fancy when in reality they’re not, which is a good way to easily impress your dinner guests.

I do like mushrooms, however, and I like garlic.  If you like mushrooms as well, perhaps you will enjoy this.

This one I made up, having never made soup with mushrooms before in my life.  But it turned out okay.  The Pie doesn’t like mushrooms all that much, so I don’t have any real objective feedback at the moment, but I will shunt some of this off to The Lady Downstairs (Kª) and see what she and Kº and Il Principe think.

Slice up about a pound or some other ridiculous amount of mushrooms.  Don’t worry about getting them too thin – after you sauté them you’ll be mushing them up anyway.

Visit Massive Mushroom Mountain!

Melt a bit of butter in a pan and add a drop of olive oil to keep the butter from burning.  Sauté up your mushrooms.  I did it in three batches, because if I’ve learned anything from watching Julie & Julia, it’s that butter is one of the greatest innovations known today, and that you don’t crowd the mushrooms.

Always cook butter with a bit of olive oil to prevent burning.

While you’re at it, why don’t you go ahead and sauté up a sliced onion?

In a pot, bring about 4 cups of stock to a boil.  I used chicken broth, but of course you can use vegetable stock as well.

Plop in your mushrooms, onion, and a couple heads’ worth of roasted garlic.  Splash in some red or white wine and leave to simmer for about half an hour.

Wine is optional, yet encouraged.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Using an immersion blender, food processor, or stand blender, blend your soup until you have a fine mushy mass.  I love my immersion blender.  My mother calls it the ‘brzzht’, because that’s the noise it makes.  She’s an artist.

Pour in whipped cream or coconut milk as desired and heat to serve.

Stir in the cream if desired.

Then you eat it!

Serve with stuff that goes with soup.

*** EDIT: Kª called it a ‘soup-tasm.’  I’m not sure I want to know. ***

Garbage Soup with Squash, Spinach, Beans and Barley

Don’t let the name of this soup turn you off: it’s just a moniker my mother applied to any soup she made out of what was left in our refrigerator.

This week I had leftover spaghetti squash from my earlier experiment, as well as leftover cavatappi pasta from our spaghetti night.  What to do . . . ?

The nice thing about soups is they’re dead easy.  I filled a large pot with water and set it to boil.  I added a few heaping spoonfuls of Knorr Vegetable Stock (I use the powder instead of the liquid because I usually can’t use a whole carton before it goes bad and I don’t like to waste it).

Let the soup simmer for a couple of hours on medium-low.

I peeled and chopped a large parsnip and a small turnip (actually a rootabega but who’s checking?) and chucked them in the pot, together with a handful of pearl barley and about a cup of dried white beans.  I also added about a cup’s worth of frozen spinach to the mix, as well as the leftover squash and pasta.  There was already a significant amount of basil in the pesto that was on the squash (as well as the hazelnuts and parmesan cheese), so I didn’t add any other herbs to the mix.  When we eat it we usually add salt and pepper to suit our individual tastes.

Once I got the soup boiling, stirring often, I turned it down to a simmer, medium low, for about two hours, until the beans were cooked and the rootabega was tender.

We ate it hot with tabouleh sandwiches, and it was great.

My dad got me these bowls for Christmas. I am Big Al.

I let the rest of it cool and ladled it into yogurt containers for storage.  I find the yogurt container is a good standard measure for freezing, as it contains about two full servings.

Yogurt containers are a good size for two servings.