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A simple chicken soup: remove skin or not?

I'm about to make one of my fave soups: a simple chicken soup (3 chicken legs and a thigh) with some potatoes, carrots, green onions, onions, and perhaps celery. I always make this soup (love the broth) but never know whether I'm supposed to remove the skin from the chicken or not.

Do you remove the skin from your chicken when making soup?

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  1. I'm probably in the minority on this one, but I prefer to remove the skin.

    I don't find that the skin adds anything beyond making the soup a bit greasy.

    That said, when I make chicken stock with chicken feet, there's really no meat on them feet, it's all skin ... and I love stock made from chicken feet. Go figure.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I usually remove the skin as well, but if bits of skin get added, I don't worry about it. And, the feet add wonderful flavour to the stock.

    2. leave it on and skim the fat off later

      1 Reply
      1. re: bw2082

        Ditto!! Or remove the skin and brown it under the broiler before adding it into the soup mix; then strain it out at the end and skim off the fat.

      2. I leave the skin on, actually it never occurred to me that I want to remove.

        Although, when I make chicken stock I usually like to reserve the chicken from the stock, allow it to cool and then pick the meat off. The skin in this case is very useful as the texture and flavour of the meat is much nicer (moist and tender) than any of the flesh that was exposed during the stock making.

        1. For an interesting twist on chicken soup, try making it with turkey sometime. My mom made it with chicken ever since I can remember but tried it with turkey last year to use up some thanksgiving leftovers. It had a lot more flavor than I remember the chicken soup ever having.

          1. I leave the skin on, too. I often brown the chicken pieces first (when I use legs) before adding the water. To me, the broth is richer this way. Last night I made broth with a bunch of chicken necks I had saved from whole chickens. I simmered them in the crock pot overnight. Gorgeous looking broth, I must say. Can't wait to turn it into our favorite Romanian meatball soup.

            1. while I question the way you are making the soup, I will answer your question. Of course you leave the skin on...(at least that's the way I make it, but then again my soup takes at least overnight to really get good). After I finish the soup for the first day, I cool it down, strain, discard the mirepoix, separate the bones, meat and skin, and then chill the soup in the refrig until the next day. When the meat is cool enough to handle, I remove the meat and save to return to the pot the next day, or to use for another dish, i.e. chicken salad, a green salad with chicken, or whatever. The bones are just falling apart and therefore will be discarded. The next day, I remove the soup, skim off the shmaltz (chicken fat) and use for either Matzo balls (mmmmmmmm), or use for another usage, (like some people use bacon grease, but since I don't do pork, this works just as good). The skin will be towel dried, and then heated in a pan with the shmaltz and transformed into gribbens. This is like cracklin except with chicken. This is also an MMMMMM. (yeah, neither of these is good for the diet....but after all, the what do the first 3 letters in DIEt spell?) So, that's my take...keep the skin. It adds immense flavour (after all, would you toss in boneless skinless chicken to make a soup?...I don't think so. BLEH! Happy New Year y'all. L'shanah Tova.

              1. I usually save up the carcasses, wing tips, and skin from roasted chickens to make broth. Most of the fat renders out f the skin while it is roasting but I put it in anyways. Then I just skim the fat off the top of the broth after it cools.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jpc8015

                  If it is free range: leave it on. If it is factory: take it off. Soups made with factory farm chickens are going to be very fatty anyway.

                  I always fry my stock cube in a little olive oil and what I fancy - sometimes a little pepper, chilli, chopped corriander stalks. The aroma is part of the experience of this food for the soul :-)

                2. I mostly agree with chefboyofdees however; I believe a lot of the flavor comes from the bones more than the skin. Hence, I start with lots and lots of bones and in addition at the top of the stockpot I put any chicken breasts, thighs, or even a whole chicken that i want additional meat from. I don't remove the skin, but if there are gobs of fat, I do take it off. I bring this just to a boil; and then simmer about 30 mintutes before removing the chicken that I want to use in the finished soup or in another dish. (Boiling fat is not a good idea.) After taking the meat off the bones I toss all the leftover bones back into the stock as well as all the veggies and continue to simmer for hours. In addition to mirapoix, I think parsnip and dill add great flavor. After straining, chilling overnight and removing the fat, I finally add any fresh vegetables, reserved chicken meat and matzah balls. Works for my family. l'shana tova