October 19, 2009

Chicken Soup

Our daughter had a cold last week. She asked me to pick up some over-the-counter remedy for her that would reduce the duration and severity of a cold. I asked if she wanted me to get some chicken noodle soup or anything else for her, but she said she'd rather have my homemade chicken soup. I was pleased and said sure, I'd make her some when I got home. No onions, she said, just chicken and carrots and LOTS of noodles.

It was really nice to have several jars of chicken stock in the refrigerator; I just pulled one out, poured scraped it into a saucepan, and added sliced carrots, noodles, and chopped chicken leftover from dinner the night before.

I'd just made the chicken stock the day before. I was cleaning out the freezer after going grocery shopping and decided to turn the bags of carrot peels, onion skins, chicken bones, etc., into stock. It's easy, and practically free.

Whenever I make chicken for dinner, the bones are put in zippered freezer bags and saved in the freezer. Anytime I use onions or carrots or other "soup" veggies, the peels, tops and bottoms are also saved. Celery leaves, garlic skins, the ends of peppers, leftover tomato slices, and more are added to the "stash".

When I have enough, or when the freezer is too full, all the bags are emptied into the stockpot, water is added, and the pot simmers all day long. You can add a splash of apple cider vinegar ala Nourishing Traditions if you wish. Obviously it's good to make this on a cold day instead of during the hottest part of the summer. When it's done, I strain the broth and refrigerate so I can remove the fat after it cools. This time I ended up with 5 quarts.

It's not only free, it's also sodium-free unless you decide to add salt. It's thick - gelatenous - and you can't pour it out of the jar like you do the canned stuff from the store. It's so much better for you too.

Try this with the carcass from your holiday turkey too. It makes yummy turkey stock. Because we are usually tired of turkey after the holidays, I break the carcass in half, and freeze both, using them to make two batches of turkey stock later on.

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