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chicken soup from leftover roasted chicken

I have a carcas from a 7 lb bird with 1/2 a breast in tact. How do i turn this into chicken soup? I have carrots, celery, onion, bay.... thanks for the help.

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  1. Use everything you have from the chicken, except the meat. Cover it with water, add carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, salt, thyme, whatever seasoning you want. Simmer for as long as you can (hours), checking liquid. Drain w/ fine sieve and you have stock. Add your remaining chicken breast (cooked, I'm assuming?) chopped, whatever else you want for the soup.

    1. Take the breast meat off and reserve it for finishing the soup. Break up the carcas and put it in a large pot. Cut up an onion, no need to peel, a couple of carrots, again no need to peel, chop some celery and celerty leaves and add to the pot, a healthy dose of salt and some peppercorns. Add cold water to cover. Bring just to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer skimming any scum or foam that comes to the top. DO NOT BOIL. Simmer for 3-4 hours or so, even a little longer. Then remove from the heat and strain the stock. Discard all of the solids, bones, used veg and peppercorns. Your stock is now ready to become chicken soup. Add fresh vegetable to it, a carb of some sort like rice or noodles if you want and just before serving shred that chicken breast and add to the soup.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        Some people don't salt until the very end of the process - the idea being that if you reduce the stock too much after it's been salted... you get salty broth.

        1. re: noahbirnel

          I don't put a lot in, but I think it helps bring out the flavors of the veg while it is cooking.

        2. re: Candy

          Is it okay if I want to save the carrots to serve in the soup? Or are they unsafe to eat??

          1. re: RoxyGirl

            They're safe. They just won't taste like anything. Add fresh carrots. I like diced tomatoes in mine as well. And garlic.

            1. re: southernitalian

              Well, if you've done it right, they shouldn't taste like anything, for all their flavor should be in the broth! They make OK compost....

        3. If you want flavorful soup from an already cooked chicken carcass, use a can of chicken broth. Or use chicken boullion like Knorr (or better) instead of salt. Once the chicken's been roasted, an awful lot of the flavor from the bones has leached out. If you have the grease/non-thickened drippings, add them but cool and skim before you serve. Pick out the bones and gristle and skin. Parsnips and dill add a wonderful flavor cooked in (and this can be done once the bones are cooked to death) in addition to the tried and true celery and onion and carrots. If you cook them after the bones and nasty bits are gone, it's easier to pick out the pot. Add the shredded cooked chicken only at the last moment go heat through as it will add little flavor to the broth and lose what flavor it has. Dark meat could be added a bit earlier.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lintygmom

            I agree with addition of Knorr's boullion. You can add flavor back into the chicken soup. This is my usual go to soup when I have a chicken carcass left over and it is so delicious.

            To make the broth:
            Put the entire carcass into the pot and cover with water and bouillion
            3 garlic cloves, 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots, 1 med onion -rough chopped.1 tsp of garlic powder. When the broth is done, take it all out and strain through cheese cloth. Make sure to strain it well. clear broth is good.
            Taste the broth add more bouillion if you need to.
            Then cut 1 cup carrot, 1 cup celery - 1 onion small dice, and chop the rest of your chicken. Salt and pepper
            Make matzo balls from the Manischewitz mix as directed on the box (make sure you put the mix in the fridge) and add about 1/3 cup of the small (tiny Manischewitz egg bowties)
            Then when its almost ready add the chicken and at the very end a nice handful of fresh italian parsley. Serve it and smile.

            1. re: lintygmom

              I just have to insert a word of caution about the drippings. I roast my chickens at high heat, which I think produces a a nicer bird - crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. But the one negative is that the drippings can take on a "burnt grease" flavor. If you save the drippings, be sure to dilute them a bit with some boiling water and taste it before adding to your stock. If it has that scorched taste, once it's added, you can't hide it.

            2. i've stopped putting celery in my chicken stock, because i feel it's too bitter.

              another good trick after straining is to refrigerate the stock. the fat will congeal on top and is very easily removed while white and firm the next day. makes a much lighter cleaner tasting broth.

              1. The cooked breast meat, if you want to eat it, should not be re-cooked if you don't want to compromise its quality. Rather, it should be shredded (rather than chopped; chopped cooked meat is more rubberty than shredded) cold and then the hot soup poured over it to heat it up (and to cool the soup off a little bit).

                1. I find white wine helps stocks made from already cooked birds. I film a stock pot with oil, and add carrots, celery, leeks and/or onion, and let them begin to brown, then pour in a cup or two of white wine. When it simmers, I add the carcass and water to cover, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and skim, then simmer a couple hours or more.

                  Before I used the wine, I'd let a roasted carcass stock cook very low overnight to reduce it by at least half for good flavor. This isn't necessary with the wine, though. A few hours is all you need with the addition of the wine.

                  1. You can add depth of flavor to the stock by browning the carcass pieces in a bit of olive oil in the bottom of the pot before adding the water and vegetables. I like doing this, but be sure to keep the heat at a moderate level because chicken bones can burn easily.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ExercisetoEat

                      Yes, I agree with the browning of the veggies at least -- mod-high heat, get some good caramelization -- it will add to the flavor and the color. If you have skin from the chicken that's browned, that's good too.

                      I'll have to try the white wine idea--

                      1. re: ExercisetoEat

                        Sometimes I just roast the carcass in the oven to brown it.

                      2. Great topic, never waste a good chicken carcass or turkey for that matter, that stock is worth its weight in gold compared to canned stock. Two tips I didn't see yet are 1) split the bones or cut in two with your kitchen shears, so the marrow can be leached out, that is how you get the protein rich gelatinous stock. 2) I save onion peelings including the yellow outer skin, leek tops, etc in the freezer or crisper in a zip lock to add to the stock pot. I agree with chilling the stock and scraping off the solidified fat. Salt should be added early, just not too much, to help the flavor leaching process. I don't add the liver to the stock pot, it gets thrown out around here, but everything else goes in the stock pot, wing tips, back, neck, heart, gizzard, extra fat and skin. I often start the stock while I am getting dinner ready with the extra stuff, then add the bones after dinner. My dog flips out when I strain the stock waiting for her little tidbits. Your soups and sauces will have so much extra flavor you will never want to use canned stock again. Doug

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: dijon

                          Yeah, I should have added that I usually break the carcass down a bit. It never ocurred to me to try to shear cooked bones, I will give that a try. You don't find they splinter?

                          1. re: amyzan

                            They may splinter, thats ok you are going to throw them away. Just try to get them open. You get very little extraction out of intact bones. I use a pair of those kitchen shears with the short full tang blade and plastic finger grips, a cheap chicago cutlery one, still works. Sometimes I use the chefs knife on softer/well cooked thigh bones on the cutting board. Turkey bones are a bitch.

                            1. re: dijon

                              I think extraction is a matter of time. When I do my chicken stock, by the time it's finished the bones crumble -- all the "connective" (e.g. collegen) tissue has been dissolved. I'd be curious to see how much, if it does, splitting some of the larger bones assist in extraction times.

                          2. re: dijon

                            I did say break up the carcass.

                            1. re: Candy

                              Ok, I see that, but it is not enough to just disjoint the bones, you need to expose the marrow to the stock, so you actually have to crack them open.

                          3. thanks all! made a great soup to go with my sourdough baguettes.

                            1. My way is to simmer the batch for a few hours. Then scoop out and discard all the solids. Then put the stock over high heat and reduce to maybe a quarter of the original volume ... takes an hour or so. Then cool it, strain it, and refrigerate overnight. This gives you a layer of fat on top, which is easily removed and discarded, and very rich gelled stock. I scoop a couple tablespoons into a cheapie sandwich bag, twist it closed and toss it and many like it into a gallon-size freezer bag. I do this pretty quickly so the gel doesn't melt. Then I toss the bag in the freezer. Whenever I need stock, I take out one or more little sandwich bags. I find this lots easier to deal with than freezing the stock large containers, or portioning it out using ice trays. Mostly I need to use it in small quantities. If I need a large quantity, I just take out more of the little frozen baggies.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: emu48

                                What if I want to save the carrots to serve in the soup? Any reason why it's not okay to eat them?

                                1. re: RoxyGirl

                                  They're perfectly safe to eat. Just mushy and tasteless if they've been simmering for hours. If you want carrots in the finished soup, add some after the stock is made and cook them to your liking. Carrots are cheap.

                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    Thanks for the reply. I pulled out the carrots for the exception of a few and will finish cooking them after the stock is done :)

                              2. Put water to cover bones and a Tbsp or two of apple cider or white vinegar, let sit for an hour. THIS brings out the calcium from the bones into the water. Then cook as you would.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Pesel

                                  A really dumb question but should the pot be covered as I just tried this and it had no taste (maybe too much water)?

                                  1. re: HGR

                                    Do you mean it did not taste like soup? It will need salt. I wouldn't salt the whole thing now, but you could salt a sample, and see if that makes a difference.

                                2. when you make the stock do you need to put a lid on the pot or not?

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: carshone

                                    Usually not. A little reducing helps intensify flavor, and most stock recipes call for frequent skimming of the surface for impurities.

                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                      It will be a bit hotter, and more likely to bubble, with the lid on. With the lid off, some heat will be lot via evaporation.

                                      You can adjust the intensity of flavor by how much water you add in the first place. If you are aiming for a quart of stock, it does much matter whether you start with a quart, let it reduce some, and then dilute it back to a quart, or start with a quart and keep the lid on to minimize evaporation.

                                      Frequent skimming? How often do you do that during the 2 hours or so that it takes to make stock from a chicken carcass? I don't skim much at all. Those so called 'impurities' may make the stock a bit cloudy, but they don't affect taste. I use stock from left over chicken for hearty soups, not delicate consume.

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        Honestly, anymore I usually make stock in a pressure cooker, so I don't skim at all. However, I don't see any reason why you'd be much less likely to skim a stock or broth made from cooked chicken than from raw. I've seen recipes that call for deliberately emulsifying a decent amount of fat into the stock or broth by boiling and neglecting to skim and serving without refrigeration - these have their own distinct charm. You're welcome to omit whatever steps you want, but classic technique remains classic technique. Carshone is free to decide whether clarity and, to a lesser extent, mouthfeel are important to him.

                                        "It will be a bit hotter, and more likely to bubble, with the lid on."
                                        I see what you're saying, but the main way to control the heat and/or bubbling will be by adjusting the heat on your stove. If you're concerned about energy usage, I suppose using a lid is marginally more efficient, but then so is a pressure cooker or slow cooker.