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Chicken Soup virgin, Help!

Looked through some old posts for chicken soup recipes, and trying to figure out what to do since none of them were exactly what I was thinking...thing is this, I don't really like the chicken that is in chicken soup most of the time, it's either stringy dried out, or tasteless--also, no one in our house eats dark meat chicken, so need to do something with white meat...i know, i know...dark meat has more flavor...

BUT, I finally got my roasted rosemary lemon chicken breasts down to a science...so would like to make a chicken soup, from the carcasses, and then add the chicken breast meat which is always so flavorful to the soup...so, is this the correct way to proceed...?

Take the roasted carcasses (should I do this the same day?), and put them into a large stock pot and add 3 carrots whole, 2 parsnips whole, 1 onion (is sweet onion okay?)--what about shallots instead?, 6 garlic cloves, salt,some fresh rosemary springs-am not allowed black pepper, so can't use---cover this arrangement with water and bring it to a boil, and then turn it low to simmer, and keep it there for 2 hours.

Strain it through wire mesh strainer (is this fine enough), and then put it into the fridge until it congeals and a fat layer appears on top, it should be white and scrape it off.

Start now to make the soup, saute in olive oil some thinly sliced carrots, parsnips, with garlic and put aside. Heat the stock from the fridge into a large soup pot (will I have enough with 5 chicken breast carcasses?)---add the sauteed veggies, and add some more salt if necessary,,--i do not like dill weed in chicken soup, --so hoping it will have a locked in rosemary flavor---Have some noodles that I have parcooked separately, add this and then throw in the chicken that came from the original roasting ( how do you shred chicken?).....
do this last since it's already cooked just want to make it hot thoughout, and then add some chopped parsley lastly and serve.

Does this sound good? Will I have enough broth? Proper way to shred chicken? Best to parboil noodles? Best noodles, egg or otherwise?

Thanks from the experts !

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  1. That sounds good to me. Soup is forgiving, you have the right way to keep the chicken moist. It gets dry when it is the same meat used in making the stock. I like dry egg noodles in my soup. If you end up with a lot of broth then you don't have to parboil, but the noodles will absorb a lot. I shred chicken by pulling it apart by hand - it will come apart along the grain. I have used a fork but it takes longer and I think it is a PITA.

    1. Sounds spot on! Parsnips are super strong sometimes though. If you're not used to their flavor, you may want to omit or just use one -- they can sometimes overpower your chicken broth flavor.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dawnviola

        dv is right about parsnips. I love a parsnip in chicken soup, and even though I love parsnips generally, i use only ONE in my soup.

        1. re: janniecooks

          I found out about parsnips the hard way. Nobody told me that they could smell (and taste) like carrots dipped in Pine-Sol.

      2. Sounds good. I would add a bay leaf or two to the carcasses, and some chopped up celery, if you have it. (Chopped celery would also be a great addition at the soup stage.) I wouldn't use shallots for this purpose, though, as it would be a waste, in my opinion. The sweet onion is fine, if that's what you have. If you are going to have leftover soup, I would keep the noodles separate and only reheat the stock that you will be eating at that sitting, adding the needed noodles for that portion, rather than adding all the noodles. Keep the rest of the noodles in the fridge in a separate container: I find they get mushy if put back in the fridge in the stock. Regarding the noodles, just go with your preference. I sometimes use rotini, though egg noodles are delicious, too!!

        Btw, you don't need to "shred" the chicken; I usually just chop mine -- you could chop it into the size you are chopping the other ingredients to.

        1. I like to add couscous instead of noodles and some chopped fresh dill at the end is a great addition. I agree with the bay leaves and celery. Also I usually add a fresh tomato for color.

          1. When you take off the white layer of fat, make sure you don't take off any gelatin that may have formed under that fat layer.

            1 Reply
            1. re: yayadave

              Right on, and keep the fat for roast potatoes!!!

            2. if you don't want to use the carcasses same day as you make your chx breasts, you can freeze them to make homemade stock. you can also buy chx wings/backsfeet when they are inexpensive to freeze for stock, or save any leftover bones from any chicken preparation.

              re: veg in chx stock-- whole? try cutting in 3rds, then 1/2ving the 3rds lengthwise for carrots, 1/2ving onions. add some celery-- leaves and trim are fine. add bay leaf. add thyme--fine to use saved stems from fresh thyme after the leaf is used in other preparations, or dried thyme. don't use shallots, however using skins and trim of shallots is fine. using skin and trim of onion is fine too, but darker skinned onions and shallots will darken stock. do not use red onions b/c of this. use only small parsnips, or omit, they are strong. parsnips should not weigh more than 1/4 onions used in the same stock.

              vegetables simmered for more than 30-40 mins will become bitter and make the stock bitter. if you want to simmer the stock for 2 hours, strain after the first half hour or so, add the bones back and discard vegetable matter with the exception of bay leaf.

              wait until you are about to use the stock to skim the fat. the fat layer helps to keep the stock fresh.

              when starting to make soup recipe-- onions? you don't mention them in your post. put large heavy bottomed soup pot on med-hi heat. add oil. when oil is hot & shimmering, add chopped onions/leek/shallot. stir until onions begin to turn opaque. add garlic and ginger if using. cook one-2 mins. add carrots and celery/other aromatics, if using. add vegetables, if using, in order of density (i.e. hard veg like parsnip or potato first, then med-soft veg like zucchini, very soft veg like tomatoes last). stir until veg begin to soften. colored veg will look very bright and glossy when they are hot all the way thru and "ready". be careful about adding too many green veg (soup will taste like grass or chlorophyll) or too many cruciferous veg (like broccoli/cauliflower, cabbage, etc, soup will taste and smell strong, like overcooked cabbage). when all veg are "ready," add the stock (cold stock is fine), 1 tsp salt, and turn heat to high. bring to boil, then turn heat to simmer and simmer 20 mins, or until all veg are cooked thru. check and correct seasonings. remove bay leaves if possible.

              add shredded or diced cold chicken and separately cooked noodles when ready to serve. if you plan to save and reheat soup, do not add pasta-- it can cloud the stock and become overcooked and mushy.

              the same routine can be applied to almost any soup. there are different steps for cream soups but that doesn't seem to be what you're after. you'll get the hang of it after a few times and be able to come up with your own preferred recipe.

              1. I agree with you, I do not like to eat the chicken from the soup. DH loves the chicken. Last weekend I made both the soup and chicken and dumplings at the same time.

                1. For what they're worth, here are two observations:

                  1. Maybe I'm stating the obvious here, but chicken soup should be about the chicken- and I'm not just talking about the diced chicken you're adding at the end. I'm not sure how many carcasses you're using, but, for the most part, carcasses don't yield much flavor- especially when you only simmer them for a couple hours. In order to do chicken soup justice, you really need to simmer more than just cooked bones. Skin is ideal. It will bump up your price tag, but wings make spectacular stock (secondary only to feet, but feet are hard to find). If you have drippings from when you roasted the chicken initially, that will help, but when making stock for soup, it's really best to use more than just bones. And, although there's not a whole lot of agreement between chefs when it comes to stockmaking times- I don't know of anyone that recommends 2 hours. It depends on the size/age of the chicken, but, in general, I wouldn't go less than 6 hours.

                  2. I'm a bit of stock purist, but, for me, garlic has no place in a non Asian chicken stock. It's your stock/soup, so make it how you wish, but if you're striving for something traditional, nix the garlic. And the parsnips. Onion/carrot/celery (mirepoix)- that's classic. Parsnips, not so much.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: scott123

                    breast bones are also quite small. perhaps the op can find necks, backs, feet or gizzards to toss into the pot.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Yes, necks, backs, feet, definitely. You lost me on the gizzards, though :)

                    2. re: scott123

                      I'm making stock right now in the slow cooker. I started with a whole approx. 3# chicken which I bought on special and have had in the freezer. I started it on high and it took about 3 hours for the breast meat to get to 160. I removed the breast meat and returned the rest of the bird to the pot where it will cook til bedtime. I put in about half an onion, a bunch of parsley, black peppercorns and salt. I'd forgotten to pick up anything else at the grocery but it doesn't matter. I've only made stock this way (in the slow cooker) once before and it was in a class by itself. The rest of that chicken will have given its all by the time it's been cooking for 8 or 10 hours so the dogs will get it mixed into their food for a number of days.

                      I found this thread while searching for chicken noodle (or not) soup. But I already know how good it's going to be so am thinking I should expand my horizons. Maybe something with an Asian flavor? I'll keep looking but thanks for these tips.
                      PS to scott123: thanks for the recs on indoor grilling!

                      1. re: scott123

                        I found using turkey wings separated from Thanksgiving turkey made an excellent soup. Heartier than regular chicken parts which I use often to make soup. Also, adding chicken soup powder to the soup is very good.

                      2. I usually roast the chicken carcass at 375 until it is a nice golden brown, along with my mirepoix. I take the whole shebang and put it in a large stock pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer....... all day, adding water as necessary. This makes an incredibly rich stock with which to make chicken soup.

                        1. I wouldn't saute the veggies. I'd either roast them -- that'll give the soup another "layer" of flavor as well as a slightly darker color -- or just put them in the pot uncooked.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: CindyJ

                            depends on if you want a light or dark stock. people on here are very fond of roasted vegetables all the time, but i often prefer a lighter-flavored dish. sauteeing the mire poix just til golden brings out the sugars fairly quickly, without the soup tasting too heavy.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              so many fantastic suggestions, a million thanks....about the skin, I was planning on adding that, because I will separate the chicken off the breasts. Good to know about the shallots darkening it too much, and good to know about the strong taste of parsnips--so will cut back to one, and add celery to the original brew--and then saute the shallots into the veg saute--question....what about scallion? would this work out with a roasted chicken flavor? Am going to make it today, so will post tomorrow and report my results. Feeling sick as a dog, so hope this will help!

                              1. re: janie

                                onions are my least fave, after scallions, leeks and shallots. i prefer their milder flavors. i also don't use celery anymore, finding it often too bitter.

                                1. re: janie

                                  Don't forget the bay leaf!!! One or two in with the carcasses and other stock ingredients.

                                  1. re: Full tummy

                                    I can't use bay leaves for health reasons---miss them, but can't use them.

                                  2. re: janie

                                    I would stick to only one member of the allium family. Onions make their way into plenty of chicken soups, as do shallots or leeks, but I would probably try it with one or the other before combining something like shallots and scallions.