There are days which feel like soup – cloudy, foggy, rainy soup days; pull on your sweats, grab a blanket, and slurp a steaming bowl days. The other day was one of those.
I had a dinner for 15 to get ready for the next night, a project to finish and an article to write. Whoever said life is slow is welcome to share some of their time. One of my favorite inexpensive time savers is rotisserie chicken. Using everything except the fat and the skin, I can stretch it into several meals. Don’t think those bones just get chucked. They are packed with flavor.
The problem with soup from bones is it can take a while. You have to make the stock, strain out all the little bits, and then start over. An easy way to skip this step is to put all the yucky parts you don’t want to use in cheesecloth. I didn’t have any cheesecloth or time to go to the store. Fortunately for me, my mom has an inexpensive substitute. It’s not as effective, but in a pinch it’s better then nothing. Plus, almost everyone has coffee filters and twine on hand – cheesecloth substitute here we go.
Throwing this soup together was perfect because I could work while it simmered. I was in my sweats of course (working from home has its perks), so my soup day was simple – sink into the couch with a bowl of soup.
I earned bonus points with leftovers. It’s my strong belief certain dishes taste better on the second day. Soup is one of them. Day two of couch and sweats time is highly recommended.
Quick Chicken Soup
Serves 6 – 8
I like making this soup with some heat, but if that’s not your thing, leave out the chili pepper flakes. Also, if you don’t have carrots or celery on hand you can make it without, though it’s better with.
2 TBS olive oil
1 onion, chopped
½ cup carrots, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 TBS dried basil
½ TBS dried rosemary
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried chili pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
8 cups water
1 raw chicken breast, cubed
8 coffee filters and cooking twine
Left over carcass of a rotisserie chicken
Note: You can cook your own, but a rotisserie chicken at Safeway is about
$6.00. With the meat I made enough lasagna to feed 15 people dinner, have leftovers and the bones went into this soup.
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot with lid. Add onions, carrots and celery. Season vegetables with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Sauté until tender.
Add all dry ingredients and sauté to bring out their flavors 1-2 minutes.
Note: Sautéing dried red chili pepper flakes can make the air spicy, which can make your nose run and hurt your eyes. So don’t look directly into the pot until the water is added.
Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
Add water and bring to a boil.
While water is coming to a boil, separate the bones into four small piles (if you don’t use them all, it’s okay). Make small “packages” with the coffee filters.
Note: To make “packages” set one pile of bones in the center of a coffee filter. Bringing edges of the coffee filter together, making a cylinder around the bones. Fold the other two open sides toward the middle, closing the “package.”
Set the folded coffee filter, fold side down, on another coffee filter. Repeat the process. Use one piece of string to tie the coffee filter, holding one of the folded sides closed. Use a second piece of string to tie the other sides of the coffee filter closed.
Season chicken with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.
Once water has come to a boil, add the chicken and bones. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Allow to simmer at least 1 hour.
Note: The longer you let it simmer, the more intense the flavors will become. I normally let it cook for 2 hours.
With a long pair of tongs, remove the “packages.” Pull on a pair of sweats, dish up a bowl of soup and relax.http://baguettetastewonderbreadbudget.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Quick-Chicken-Soup.pdf