Daily Tips

Tip #174: Make some chicken soup

When it starts getting cold, all we want is chicken soup. Maybe some matzo balls. Yes, you can buy soup in a jar, a box, or a can, but the difference between that and something you make yourself is like the difference between an mp3 and seeing a band in concert. Sure it gets the job done, but you won’t get half as sweaty or enjoy it half as much.

There are a million recipes for this and none are that different. We like David Tanis’s from the NYTimes as a reference.

If you’ve never made chicken soup from scratch, there are some sub-tips:

  • Any time you roast a chicken or buy a whole bird, save the uncooked scraps (like the backbones or carcass) chop them into manageable pieces and put them in the freezer. Collect until you have a very full bag, then make soup.
  • Thomas Keller suggests bringing the pot to a gentle boil with the burner at the far side of the pot. This puts all the bubbles and foam that you want to scrape off at the other side of the pot.
  • If you want a very clear soup, don’t disturb the liquid and let it simmer as gently as possible.
  • Don’t eat the vegetables or chicken that you boiled in the stock, they don’t taste like anything. If you want veggies in your soup, cut up some new ones and add to the strained stock.
  • Freeze any broth you don’t use in ice cube trays or small zip-lock bags. Then any recipe that calls for chicken stock, take out just what you need.

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