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What to do with the chicken from the soup?

My kids love chicken soup but I hate to eat the chicken from the soup (my mother made e eat it as a child when I was sick). Usually I make a curried chicken salad or the Empire recipe for twice cooked chicken. Any ideas? I'm kosher so please include idea that have no dairy of any kind.

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  1. Honesty, meats used in soup, especially soups that are cooked for over 2 hours or so, loses much of its flavor. The flavor of the chicken goes into the soup, so the chicken will not have much flavor.

    I'm thinking of dipping the meat in soy sauce or something like that.

    1 Reply
    1. re: WHills

      WHills is right; the chicken won't have much flavor, so your best best is to serve it in some kind of richly-flavored sauce: marinara over pasta, barbecue sauce, honey-mustard, teriyaki, spicy chili, tikka masala (without the yogurt) . . .

    2. lots of soups use the broth without the chicken-- maybe try those? or portion out some soup for yourself before you put the chicken back in for the kids? i am assuming you are referring to a homemade chx soup here that employs an integral stock, but it's possible i'm misunderstanding. . .

      1. I personally like it back in the soup but when I do have too much I too have made chicken salad - I have also used for oriental dishes such as fried rice or egg rolls

        But like the other posts it does tend to be flavorless so anything that adds addiitonal spices helps -

        1 Reply
        1. re: weinstein5

          I toss it into a simple mole: guajillo chiles, a couple hotter dried chiles, garlic, a touch of cumin, salt, pepper. I usually freeze the meat in portions and pull out a package to eat with mole and tortillas for a super-quick supper.
          The meat would also be good in enchiladas.

        2. When I was growing up, my mother served chicken soup and the chicken from the soup as a main course every . Friday . night! Obviously, Shabbat dinner. My grandmother, who lived nearby, did the same, and it was actually she who bought the chickens, giving one to my mother. The soup was o.k. with me, but I positively *loathed* that chicken. Yech!

          When I would go to my grandmother's house, since she knew how I felt, when she served me that chicken, she would "doctor" it. She would fry up some onions, then put the cooked chicken pieces into the pan and sprinkle paprika (and maybe garlic salt?) over them. It was pretty tasty that way.

          If I were providing a recipe for it today, I would say "saute" lots of sliced onions, use lots of fresh chopped garlic and freshly ground pepper in addition to the paprika. Add a little water to make some "sauce." Toss in some potatoes, previously cut into pieces and boiled, or serve the chicken over rice or noodles.

          1. When I make chicken soup, I remove the chicken from the stock when the meat is cooked. I take the meat off the bones, then return the bones back to the stock. That way, the chicken meat isn't cooked into flavorlessness.

            2 Replies
            1. re: manraysky

              that's what i do too. it seems pointless to eat chicken that's had all the flavor cooked out of it. after a certain point, only the bones are contributing to the broth anyway.

              1. re: manraysky

                This is what I do, also. The chicken is great, the soup or stock is great.

              2. I like maestra's appraoch! Another good way to doctor is to mix it with lime juice, fish sauce, sriracha, a little bit of sugar and salt, sauteed chopped garlic or red onion, chopped water chestnuts, scallions, and cilantro. Wrap the mix in Boston lettuce leaves and eat as an appetizer.

                1. Perhaps tacos? Tortillas and chicken meat tosses with a little ancho chili salsa served with some warm beans? They don't need diary...

                  A "teriyaki bowl" with white rice, some steamed veggies, chicken tossed in sauce, and some pinapple?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: JudiAU

                    Oh! I like the idea of tacos...

                    I agree with everyone above that the chicken from the soup is flavorless, but I hate to just throw it out as I seem to use a whole chicken every week.

                    For those who take out their chicken and continue cooking with only the bones, when exactly do you take the chicken out?

                    1. re: daphnar

                      I take it out in 20-30 minutes. I just pull a piece out, check to see if it is fully cooked (you could use a meat thermometer for that), and then pull the meat off the bones.

                      I end up putting the chicken meat back into the soup, I just add it add the end, so it doesn't get simmered to death.

                      1. re: daphnar

                        I take the whole chicken out after an hour and remove about 3/4 of the meat. Everything else goes back into the pot for another two hours. It makes the soup better and the chicken usable. (I also tend to make large batches so I am usually working with 2 or 3 chickens.) My mom only removes the breast meat.

                    2. The other option if you know how to debone a chicken is to take the meat off of the chicken and only use the bones or shell of the chicken in soup with maybe a little bit of meat.

                        1. maybe run the deboned chicken meat in the food processer, or run the whole soup in the blender (if you want your kids to have to protein)?

                          1. it would be good to use in a really flavorful chicken chili (flavors coming from the other ingredients, that is). i made a chili last night with bland roast chicken leftovers sauteed w/ onion, green pepper, carrot, celery, garlic, cumin, S&P; then added tomatoes, broth, some chipotles in adobo sauce, black beans & a little red wine vinegar. let it all simmer a while. added some scallion and chopped cilantro right at the end. easy, healthy & (no matter how bland the original chicken) tasty.

                            1 Reply
                            1. Thanks for all the suggestions!

                              1. I throw it out. I used to feed it to my cats and dog but vet said their prepared food is healthier. It has no taste; the flavor is all in the stock. (and confession: though I wouldn't eat it as a main, I use a cheap supermarket chicken to make stock)

                                However, once I did remove the breasts, and put remaining carcass and bones back into stock to finishing making stock.

                                Better yet, make matzoh balls and serve w/ soup.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: NYchowcook

                                  Agree completely. It does seem wasteful, but the meat is so flavorless and mushy - I can't imagine putting it in my mouth. And the stock is now so tasty - the chicken really has served it's purpose, and isn't a waste at all. I usually buy a rotisserie chicken and shred that to put in the soup if I want chicken meat in it. It's all about the flavor - and neither insipid chicken stock or mushy, tasteless meat attract me in the least bit.

                                  1. re: applehome

                                    You can make enchiladas & sprinkle top with soy cheese. Basically you buy corn tortillas & enchilada sauce (in the can or make your own out of oil + flour (= roux) + chili powder + garlic, cumin, other spices. You can also make it with dried chile peppers but that's a bit more complicated). Fry the tortillas lightly in oil, dip in the sauce, roll with chicken, put in baking dish and top with sauce/soy cheese. Put in 375-degree oven for 20 minutes or so.
                                    Really delish.

                                    1. re: applehome

                                      I'm in a Vietnamese rut this week i guess. The Vietnamese recipe for spicy chicken salad is in a number of Vietnamese cook books. It goes together in a snap. Traditioally the broth from poachig the chicken is turned into a very simple chicken and rice soup to be served along with the salad. The salad is sort of a cabbage slaw and if your kids are not into spicy heat you can certainly cut back on he hot peppers. Peanuts make a nice garnish. No dairy involved, just a refreshing soup and salad. In Andrea Nguyen's book (Into the Vietnamese Table) which I am cooking again from this evening, she suggests adding a bit of the slaw to the soup to cool the soup some and to add some texture. With the spices and fish sauce and rice vinegar you don't really notice a lack of flavor on the chicken. It is just another texture element. I am not making the soup tonight but will make a few fried dumplings to have with a little nuoc cham dipping sauce.

                                    2. re: NYchowcook

                                      how is bagged food more healthful? cats are carnivores and dogs are omnivores. neither evolved eating soy, corn or grains of any kind.

                                    3. how about chicken pot pie? i'm sure you can find a version without butter/cream, no?

                                      1. When I make chicken in the crockpot I first remove the bones and skin and freeze them. When I have 3 or so chickens worth of necks, skin and bones, I make broth from that, avoiding the problem.

                                        1. My specific recipe isn't kosher, but I make a sausage out of the chicken meat -- seasoned highly fixes the flavor problems, and the grinding ( I use a food processor) takes care of any texture issues. It's not got exactly the same texture as a raw meat sausage, but it's a great use for the meat, and it's nice to have sausage patties or logs in the freezer.

                                          Here's my recipe - Chicken Stock Sausage:

                                          cooked meat from one chicken
                                          1 tsp - 2 tbs red wine vinegar
                                          2 -4 tbs butter --- you'd want to substitute your favorite non-dairy shortening.
                                          1/4 c. olive oil
                                          2-3 tsp thyme
                                          1-2 tsp. basil
                                          1-2 tsp sage
                                          2-4 dried red chiles, crumbled fine
                                          2-4 tsp salt
                                          1-2 tsp fresh ground pepper.

                                          Starting with smaller amounts of spices and fats, pulse all ingredients together until coarsely crumbled -- stop once or twice to check how well it holds together, and taste for seasoning. If it's too dry, add additional fat or vinegar.

                                          Shape into patties or logs, and brown to serve, or freeze. These don't defrost well, but cook nicely from frozen -- I don't recommend microwaving, unless you've browned them first and just need to re-heat. THe texture will be markedly different then a raw meat sausage, unless you care to chop up a raw chicken breast and pulse it along with the other ingredients.

                                          The seasonings can of course be varied to taste -- I often make a more traditional "breakfast sausage" flavour, by leaving out the chiles, and using a tablespoon of poultry seasoning instead of the other herbs.

                                          1. My customary chicken salad with curry, grapes, and walnuts is good but as predictable as a trained pig. Recently I used tarragon, lots of sun-dried tomato pieces, and pecans. Tasted pretty good.

                                            1. An uncomfortably large part of my life as a kid (or at least, a large part of every Friday night) was devoted to figuring out how to escape those torturous, flavorless, colorless soggy, boiled chicken breasts that my mom couldn't possibly conceive of throwing away (what Jew could justify waisting food?).

                                              The best I could settle on, was smothering the "chicken" with ketchup, which, I realize, sounds really unpleasant. Actually, it was really unpleasant, but somehow became a household tradition.

                                              All of my Jewish friends remember dealing with this same problem growing up. I've never heard a reasonable solution proposed (of course, excluding all the positively wonderful suggestions posted in this thread *ahem*). The way I see it, clenching our fists into hard, little balls, tightly smashing our eyelids down, far as they can go and slurping up that unwastable leftover is one more of those unfortunate experiences that binds MOTs together.

                                              Your kids might squirm in their chairs, lob wads of half-chewed meat across the kitchen and throw a general hissy-fit, but it'll be a delightful memory for them someday.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: Michael Juhasz

                                                maybe a nice update on your ketchup-smothered chicken breasts would be to shred the meat and slowly stew it in mole, chipoltle sauce or another homemade mexican sauce, or a bbq sauce-- there is no reason either to waste food or to eat food you can't really enjoy! :)

                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                  Stewing chicken slowly in anything, when that chicken has already been boiled and simmered for hours to make stock, makes about as much sense as,,, I don't know - I can't come up with anything that ridiculous. The chicken would end up as completely flavorless shreds, like floating hairs, in an otherwise flavorful sauce or broth. How could any respectable chowhound eat anything like that and enjoy it? Just eat the delicious sauce on something else worth eating.

                                                  I understand the desire to not waste anything, but it's not wasted because the flavors, including the fats, and the reducible connective tissues, have already been extracted. The mush that's left may be some form of protein, but so are a lot of other inedible substances. There are those that like to pull the meat out after a quick par-broil, so that it still has some texture and flavor - and I think that this might be somewhat acceptable as far as the meat goes - but I've never had a decent chicken soup made this way.

                                                  Although there are certainly good compromises - like keeping all your wing-tip ends in the freezer and throwing them in - makes for a very gelatinous stock. OTOH, if you have the wing-tips, why not throw them in with the whole bird and get just that much extra chicken flavor? There is NO SUCH THING as too much chicken flavor in a chicken soup. The very best of chicken broths just have a mouth feel and umptuous flavor that delights beyond comparison. If you haven't experienced this near-orgasmic delight when eating chicken soup, it's probably because you don't leave your chicken meat in there long enough to turn it to mush and the soup to a pot of true deliciousness.

                                                  I have actually sacrificed two birds to make a single batch of stock. I used the stock from the first bird to start the second. As incredibly chickeny as that was, it was admittedly wasteful - so I now simply use commercial chicken broth (like Swanson's) to start the one-chicken stock.

                                                  You've got to sacrifice that bird to the gods of chicken soup. If you eat it, the soup gods will storm down and destroy your soup. Simple as that.

                                                  1. re: applehome

                                                    hmm, i'm intimately familiar with the soup gods. . . i think they have more of a sense of humor than that, considering the poor of every nation have used up their odds & ends in traditional soups and slow stews for centuries--i'd be more scared to incur their wrath through the use of swansons. . .

                                                    perhaps i'm not understanding, is there something about this soup that cooks the meat to truly unusable "mush"?

                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                      I simmer the chicken (chopped into parts with seasonings and root vegetables) for 4 or more hours. I assume that the OP and others that have been asking this question are referring to a similar process. The chicken that comes out of this is falling apart - mushy and tasteless. Cooked any further, it would simply disintegrate.

                                                      You can certainly cook it for less time. Many simply pull the chicken out after it initially boils, separate the meat from the carcass and put the carcass back in to finish the stock. That way, the meat is still edible. But I contend that this results in a less flavorful soup. For those that feel otherwise, I would recommend a side by side tasting - is it really worth the $3.00 extra to replace the meat that was thrown out after being fully utilized for soup flavor? I think it is - others will disagree. But in any case, you can't reuse the mush that comes from the fully utilized meat for anything like a slowly cooked stew - mole or otherwise.

                                                      1. re: applehome

                                                        i think the op might be using a different recipe, it sounds like a fairly traditional chicken-matzo soup recipe to me. a lot of cooks prefer to remove at least the breast meat after the initial poach in such a recipe (i'm assuming too). The soup is then made with the integral quick-stock, and the reserved meat should be usable, either in the soup or in another use.

                                                2. re: Michael Juhasz

                                                  "luckily" for me, my mom never made soup from anything but a campbell's soup can, so i missed out on all that.

                                                  this concern crops up pretty frequently on here and i appreciate wanting to avoid waste and do consider myself a frugal cook. that frugailty includes the perspective that i don't see throwing good money after bad as wise kitchen management. if something is cooked to death, flavorless, with all its nutrition boiled out, why am i glopping it over with mayo, mole, sriracha or anything else?

                                                  however, if you don't want to "waste" the meat, either pull it off the bones as soon as it is just poached, OR stop using it and make stock only from oogly bits. i don't cook chicken often anymore, but do make bone broth for health reasons. since i'm no longer stockpiling carcasses, i use heads, backs and feet and my stock is a thing of beauty.

                                                3. I like to make cold chicken sandwiches with it, on an onion roll with lots of spicy mustard and lettuce and tomatoes!

                                                  1. I usually save up backs, necks, wings, etc. for soup and stock making. In the rare instance, I use a whole bird, I'll often bone out the breasts and hack up the rest for the stock making. I then poach the reserved breasts in the finished broth to include in the soup, chicken and dumplings, or pot pie. I sometimes bone out the dark meat and give it to the dog, but she's getting fat, so I throw it out more often now. (If you do give it to an animal, PLEASE bone it carefully.)

                                                    1. Make blinces out of it. That is, add fried onions and mince it with the chicken meat, then wrap in thin crepes and bake or fry to make dumplings. Yum!

                                                      1. Mom used to make chicken salad with the soup chicken. I miss that mushy mess!

                                                        1. Hello Kitty.

                                                          Not for human consumption.

                                                          Very played-out.

                                                          1. I guess I am the exception-I like the soup chicken.
                                                            Leftovers from the soupchicken I make chicken salad-
                                                            (tarragon,celery,green paper ground).

                                                            Sometimes I even grind the chicken and make chicken meatballs with spaghetti and sauce,

                                                            1. Throw it the fuck away!