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Save My Tasteless Salty Chicken Soup

I made a batch of chicken soup today. Had to run out, so my dh was watching it for me. Rather then simmer on a nice low flame, it cooked for 2 hours one a medium-high flame. The result is a tasteless soup. I added salt, now I have a salty tasteless soup. Can it be corrected? What if I add a chicken boullion cube? I figure adding matzoh balls and noodles to the soup tomorrow might help with the saltiness, but how can I get more flavor? Thanks!

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  1. Potatoes to take out the salt
    Lemon, tarragon and demiglace for flavor

    1. Saute up a mirepoix, then add your "stock" to this mixture, throw in some fresh herbs if you have them, also a parmesan rind adds a really nice depth and richness. Simmer it all briefly.

      1. Chicken base could work. Add carrot, parsnip, turnip, onion, dill and parsley and simmer. That will give you a more traditional "Jewish" flavor, if that's what you'd like.

        1. How about poaching a chicken in the soup? Use the poached chicken in your matzoh ball soup, make a chicken salad, or make some enchilladas or a chicken pot pie.

          4 Replies
          1. re: smtucker

            I agree with a nice mix of veg sauteed in a bit of butter, add some herbs, grind in some pepper, added to your soup, it should help. I'd also use a ladle full of your 'taste-challenged' soup to deglaze the pan..most of the 'tasty' is in the bits stuck to the bottom. A rind of cheese would add some depth, if you have a bit of dried-up cheese lurking in the fridge. Squeezing a bit of lemon juice in can punch it up, too. I don't think I would add a bullion cube unless you have something salt-free.

            1. re: smtucker

              Or you could try morphing it into a slightly different soup with stronger flavors...egg and lemon and orzo for avgolemono (I'll bet I spelled that wrong...it's late). Maybe egg-drop soup?

              1. re: tonifi

                For most of the batch, I'll need to keep as a traditional Jewish Chicken Soup, but for the left over batch, I'd love to make avgolemono. Do you have a good recipe?

                1. re: tonifi

                  Guess what? You spelled it correctly, tonifi. Avgolemono soup is an outstanding idea. I haven't made it in SO long, and I always have chicken broth around. Hmmmm...

              2. The only way to get more flavor is to add more stuff to it, as suggested above, but the stuff has to be salt-free. More chicken and veg are good ideas. Bouillon and base are bad because they are mostly salt. If your stock wasn't already too salty you could have improved it by reducing it, but all that will do now is make it saltier. The potato thing is a myth.

                1 Reply
                1. re: acgold7

                  In my teensy tinsy very limited experience :) the potato thing is NOT a myth - I have saved many an oversalted stock by throwing in a halved potato and letting it absorb for an hour or so. The rest of the advice is correct, for sure: unsalted base, or, if your store sells it (we have one local store that does) chicken demi-glace, aka chicken jelly; any of these would add more flavor to your broth without adding more salty flavor. Enjoy dinner, your mishmash soup sounds great! (That's what we call it when we add noodles - and sometimes kreplach- to our matzo ball soup.)

                2. Cook some ground chicken in your broth. Maybe some other veg if you want those flavors. Strain and mush on with your matzoh balls and noodles.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sr44

                    Hmm... Sounds like this makes sense to me. Have you tried this before? I started out making traditional Jewish Chicken Soup. I also realized that I forgot a few stalks of celery, other then that, I used, carrots, whole onions, parsnip, turnip, parsley and dill. I'll add the matzoh balls, and cooked noodles to the individual soup bowls, and not use any salt in the preparation. A salt free bouillon or like Rockycat says chicken base might work too.

                  2. Really caramelize some onions, until they're good and brown. Then add a bit of tomato paste to the onions and let that caramelize too-- deglaze with wine and add the whole mess to your soup. The onions and tomato may make it too sweet, so taste, and add a little vinegar if necessary.

                    1. What's wrong with salty, tasteless chicken soup?

                      1. I'm guessing that you salted it at the start, and that with the higher heat it reduced more than you expected, hence the saltiness. That could be addressed by adding water to bring it back to the volume back to where it should be.

                        I don't see the connection between the higher heat and the 'tasteless' part. A stock made in a pressure cooker can have just as much taste as one made at a slow simmer. I wonder if the saltiness is masking the other flavors.

                        You haven't told us what went to the soup in the first place. What vegetables, how much chicken (and/or bones), seasoning base? A fresh batch of sauteed vegetables (onion, etc) can be used to enliven an otherwise good stock.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: paulj

                          I added the salt at the end, just a bit heavy handed in doing so. I think it cooked too fast and too long, not letting the flavors gently simmer their way out . Note: it's a Jewish Chicken soup, for the holiday and that's the flavor I was seeking. In addition to the chicken, there were lots of carrots, whole onions, 2 turnips, 1 parsnip, dill, and parsely. I forgot the celery! I went to Dean and Delucca at lunch, one of the folks came over, asked if I needed any help, explained what happened and he recommended adding a soup stock which he said was very good. I looked at the indgredients and they're very similar to my original recipe, + it had celery. I'll report back after I add it.

                          1. re: michele cindy

                            I have not read about flavors 'gently simmer their way out'. Vegetables release their flavors pretty quickly. Meat also releases its juice just as soon as it comes up to temperature. Connective tissue takes longer to convert to gelatin, but the 2hours is plenty.

                            What I'm thinking actually happened is that volatile flavor components, the things you detect with your nose, as opposed to your tongue, evaporated during the boiling. On the other hand, some other flavors, the result of Maillard reactions (browning), developed. The same thing happens in long simmered stock. A fresh batch of vegetables and herbs should restore the lost flavors.

                            1. re: paulj

                              So adding the good stock worked. I added 1.2 a carton to my stock, simmered along with the carrots, and add more cooked chicken for about 30 min and it was nice and tasty. Thanks for all of the suggestions!

                        2. Potatoes do not remove salt.

                          1. I would add more onion, carrot and celery. Bouillon cube only add more salt which I would avoid.

                            1. As an afterthought, you can always put some dried or fresh basil in a coffee filter and tie it up. Float it in the soup to seep and give it a deeper boquet. If you didn't have the salt problem, some commercial roasted chicken base like Minor's can really ramp up the taste. So can some msg, but also increase the sodium and make it taste even saltier.

                              1. Try adding a splash of white or rice vinegar, or lemon juice. Even a little bit of acid seems to open up the tastebuds and enhance flavor of any broth.

                                A couple pinches of MSG can't hurt either.