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Can I do anything with the chicken from the soup?

I made chicken soup and have a lot of chicken left over that I used to make the broth. Is there anything I can do with this or do the dogs score another great treat? Thank you!

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  1. If they have any flavor at all (which they shouldn't after 6+ hours) use the meat in chicken salad, pulled chicken sandwiches, stew or soup. Otherwise just give it to the dogs since there's no real nutrition left - just texture (the BBQ sauce sandwiches would be a great use of it then!)

    1. While I don't agree that the chicken has lost its nutritional value, I'm not a nutritionist so I'll leave that point alone. At the very least your chicken meat can contribute flavor and texture to whatever you elect to use it with. Shredded or cut into bite size pieces and lightly browned in a little butter it can be used in salads, sandwiches, sauces, casseroles, and many other preparations. How about chicken Fajitas? Regardless of its nutritional value, it's still protein and I wouldn't just throw it away.

      13 Replies
      1. re: todao

        Chicken with dumplings. You can use some store stock and cook some fresh veggies (carrots, celery and onion with some seasoning in the stock), then add add the shredded chicken and make some dumplings and presto. I have done this many times. Not quite as good, but buy a good quality stock and it is close.

        A good creamed chicken over some fresh made biscuits with herbs and thicken the shredded chicken with some sherry and cream. Simple, quick but tasty.

        Stir fry. Take your pick of some good peppers, onions, water chesnuts, asian flavors over some rice. Another quick version.

        Quesadillas, my favorite cheese, onions, peppers yes or no grill and serves with some fresh tomato salsa, sour cream and avacado.

        Any chicken tacos which are great

        BBQ, add some sauce, make your own or use a combo of store bought (one local store makes their own and it is great. I buy it all the time. All natural and very spicy which I love) But use your favorite either way. Add some melted pepperjack cheese on a great roll, lightly grilled and amazing dinner.

        Chicken and cabbage and carrots and a hoisin sauce rolled in spring rolls

        Or just a great salad. Grill some romaine, break up lightly and make a wonderful salad of chopped chicken onions, tomatoes and peppers and top the romaine.

        chicken salad of course

        And last ... chicken hash, potatoes, onions, peppers, some of your favorite veggies and then top with some fried eggs. Comfort food.

        1. re: todao

          I'm not a nutritionist either but I thought the whole process of making stock was to get the proteins of the meat to unfold and start swimming in the water. So after simmering for 6-8 hours, there isn't much if any proteins left. There also isn't any flavor. My guess the remnants are carbohydrates (someone please correct me!) which are necessary in a diet - I just like mine with flavor!

          1. re: alwayscooking

            Thanks for the great ideas. I think the shredded chicken in bar b que sauce would work really well for tonight. The reason I have so much chicken left over? I made a huge pot of soup last night. It needed to cool before it went into the fridge. I asked my husband to put it in the fridge before he went to sleep. When I woke up this morning....there was the soup, right on the stove! (husband felt terrible)

            1. re: DaisyM

              I've done it and although it uses flavor it still to me is fine for some dishes. The chicken and dumpling it gets some flavor from the stock, obviously not as good but why not. BBQ is great, chicken salad too or even a pasta dish. Just not worth throwing out to me. Although my kitties would probably love me. They love leftover chicken

              1. re: DaisyM

                I'm missing something here. Are you saying you're not going to eat the soup???? Did you make soup or did you make stock? If you made stock (hours of simmering) to me, the chicken has lost all its flavor and any decent texture. I don't know why anyone would want to take something that's basically flavorless and use it as a base for anything. Again, perhaps I'm missing something here.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I still use it, maybe for just warming some chicken or added to a already flavored soup. It still has flavor Why throw it out. Sometimes I will add some chicken boullion, some of my left over chiken, vegetables and slow cook. It is definitely not worth just tossing. It certainly has flavor. Not fresh stock, but not worth tossing.

                  1. re: kchurchill5

                    I'm talking about the chicken not the stock.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      sorry, I use it for chicken salad where lots of flavors are added, also maybe quesadillas, and other ways where the chicken is not so much the star. My chicken salad has grapes, onions, mayo, etc. Or maybe add BBQ, I definitely use it in many ways. I know it isn't the best, but certainly not bad.

                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        That's what makes the world go round. I think it's totally tasteless. To me, cardborad with grapes, onions and mayo would accomplish the same thing --- a few good ingredients degraded by something very inferior. The frugal way for me is to remove the breast meat when cooked and continue with the rest.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Most of mine still has a lot of flavor. Not quite as top quality as some but mine is not tasteless by any means. It is very flavorful. Not like I grilled it with lots of herbs and then dice, but certainly a good flavor.

              2. re: alwayscooking

                I'm not saying it has great flavor, after that long, no, but I still wouldn't throw it away. I think it still can be used . I 've done it many times. Not as good, agreed, but not worth throwing away. But I tend to be very frugal and don't want to waste it so I try to use whatever I can. Maybe not be the best, but still tasty for some simple dishes.

                1. re: alwayscooking

                  Not a nutritionist either, but my understanding is that chicken meat is pretty close to 100 percent protein, aside from small amounts of fat and connective tissue/collagen. So while some protein gets dissolved into the stock, probably whatever is left is protein - dry and tasteless, but still protein. Again, this is my opinion, uncontaminated by such things as facts. But I don't think chicken meat contains significant amounts of carbohydrate.

                  I'm like many of the other posters in that I usually use bones and leftover bits of the chicken for stock, or if I do use a whole bird I take it out when the meat is just done, take the meat off for something else, and then simmer the bones some more for more intense stock.

                  1. re: alwayscooking

                    I always make stock with carcasses, and some feet/wings/backs if I have them around. I cut them up into smallish pieces, as my understanding is that it is the gelatin that gets released that helps with both the flavour and the texture of the stock.

                2. Taste it!

                  Only you can judge whether the meat has enough flavor and texture left to make use of it. If it has no flavor whatsoever and has disintegrated completely, there really isn't much you can do with it. If you think it tastes good, then any of the applications above would work.

                  The better the meat, the more it can be at the forefront. For example, less-than-optimal chicken might be fine covered with a tasty sauce and mixed with a variety of other ingredients, but you wouldn't want to have it play a starring role.

                  A great meal is always a joy. But better to have happy pups and something else for dinner than to eat food that doesn't taste very good.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    Very true, taste is everything. I guess I usually buy a decent chicken so never had to bad of meat. but yes, if edible, why not use it. Otherwise, dog food literally.

                  2. a bit off-topic, but for your consideration next time:

                    whenever i make chicken soup or stock, i simmer the meat until it is cooked, then pull it all out of the pot. when cool enough to handle, i pick the meat from the bones and return the bones to the stock pot, reserving the chicken for later. i either return it to the soup at the end, or have poached chicken for salads or sandwiches.

                    most of the flavor and body in the broth comes from the bones. i NEVER understood boiling the meat to the point of no flavor. i'm frugal too, but it seems pointless to slather a flavorless hunk of boiled-to-death meat with mayo or bbq sauce to make it palatable.

                    peasant cooking long ago was just the bones, some root veg and maybe some aromatics. cook the bird, eat the meat, then boil the bones for another few meals.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      That's interesting. I'll have to try it next time. I only use Empire Kosher chicken. I think it is the most flavorful. Don't worry about the dogs...they get some of everything (that is healthy) before we do. We even have a little tradition of the dogs getting the first slice of turkey at Thanksgiving. They are totally spoiled, but we love them!

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        I do this too, but you need to have a sufficient amount of bones to do this. Also it will make the stock preparation take longer. In my case it's almost a two day process anywat since I like to let it totally cool so that any harden fat can be easily removed.

                      2. It may not have a lot of flavor left, so when you use it, make sure there's flavor supplied by something else, e.g. your barbeque sauce. I usually make a curried chicken salad out of my soup chicken, and the curry carries the day.

                        1. My grandmother made the best roast chicken on earth and I am almost positive that she used the chicken for soup before roasting. I seem to remember that she let it simmer for a short time only--maybe 30-60 minutes before pulling it out and roasting either on the same day or the following day.

                          Do you l all think that this is possible or are my memories as clouded as my stocks? I have never been able to come close to getting her results with my roast chicken.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: erica

                            I suspect your memory is incorrect - 60 minutes would thoroughly cook an average sized chicken. I HAVE seen a recipe which called for steaming duck before roasting, in order to render out some of the fat. This is a take-off on the preparation of Peking Duck.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              Or perhaps she was using fowl rather than a young chicken?

                            2. re: erica

                              maybe it was the other way around and she roasted the chicken then used the roasted bones for stock? adding the meat later?

                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                She definitely made the chicken soup first. Maybe just put the chicken in the water for a half hour before removing it and roasting? Now that I think about it, she also bought extra chicken parts, so maybe she left those in the stock..(??)

                                If only I had written down all of these recipes that I took for granted! It seemed so simple at the time..

                                1. re: erica

                                  That makes more sense. If the water was well-salted, the 30-minute simmer might function as a bit of brining, as well as rendering out some fat. I'll bet she didn't put the extra parts into the pot until the whole bird came out. She probably dried it and then roasted it briefly on high heat, because the meat wouldn't need much more cooking; the roasting would be to brown and crisp the skin. I hope that if you try to recreate her method, you'll report back on the results.

                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    I think you got it, GG! Her chicken was always wonderfully browned. She would rub the skin with vegetable oil, garlic power, and paprika. I think she roasted at 425.

                                    When I try (again!) to recreate, I will report back.

                                    1. re: erica

                                      Actually I just made a chicken using vegetable oil the other day. While I usually use olive oil, my squirt bottle of vegetable oil was right next to the board I was working on.Truth be told I got lazy. It actually browned very nicely, I'm switching to vegetable oil. I can't wait to hear what you find out!
                                      Please report back.

                            3. I love to roast chicken first for my soup or for any use. I use a whole cut up chicken, just olive oil, s/p and some seasoning. Some for soup, some for other things. Then I strip the bones and then use the bones for stock along with some extra bones usually from the butcher or frozen ones. But I have also have just boiled a whole chicken with lots of seasoning and veggies and then removed from the bones. Either way I got good results. Some may argue, but great flavor.

                                1. When making chicken soup - I always remove the chicken from the bones and return to the soup - I grew up in house for generations always liked the chicken in the soup -

                                  1. I, too, cook the chicken until just done, pull the cooked meat off the bones and to be put aside for later use. Return skin and bones back to continue simmering for a hearty soup.

                                    The cooked meat can be returned to the finished soup. Can also be used to make Chicken Pot Pie or Chicken-ala-King to serve on toast or noodles.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Lisbet

                                      Totally agree, lots of dishes, chicken sandwiches, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, chicken quesadillas, anyhing. Still a great quick meal.

                                    2. DaisyM,
                                      I make chicken soup sometimes by taking a whole chicken and first make a broth with it.
                                      I'll bring the pot of water with onion, celery and garlic, first to a boil. Then cover it with a lid. The steam and heat will cook the chicken. It takes about an hour, and it will be fine if it sits a little longer.

                                      Once the chicken cools, I'll pull it off the bone. Doing it this way the chicken isn't boiled to a point where it can't be used.I'll even freeze it, so you don't have to use that day.
                                      But somehow I missed it if you mentioned the length of time you took to cook the chicken, that is sort of important, cooking it too long will surely remove most of the flavor and then what you'd be left with is not really very good at all. (I've tasted this, truly it's not)
                                      BUT, If you didn't cook it too terribly long then I'd use it like this:
                                      Chicken salad/ Chinese Chicken salad - so many versions
                                      Chicken pot pie
                                      Curry chicken
                                      BBQ chicken in sauce
                                      Chicken A la king
                                      Chicken & broccoli casserole
                                      Cannelloni with Bechamel sauce
                                      Lemon Caper sauce with Chicken on puff pastry

                                      1. I removed most of the meat from a uncooked turkey yesterday and made turkey sausage. Then I roasted the turkey and then made stock. It simmered for about two hours. Afterwards I tasted a couple of the moister looking pieces. It was almost gaggingly (is that a word?) dry and no flavor. This is crude but I spit it out and gave it to the dog. So today I pulled off all the remaining meat and skin and have ALOT of it. The dogs always get a little canned food mixed into their kibble just so they think they're getting something and I can now substitute the chicken --- at least a week's worth. So that's a couple of dollars at least saved. So I have turkey burgers, two gallons of wonderful stock and food for the dogs. I don't think I can get much more frugal than that. Feel like a real pioneer woman. But not one on a wagon train who has to eat anything just to stay alive - meaning not that dry, flavorless meat :) I don't anyone to change what THEY do but this was MY "research."