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Monday, April 2, 2012

Anne's Simple Chicken Soup

Anne's Simple Chicken Soup

2 or more carcasses from roasted chickens, or  3/4 lb. raw chicken necks and backs
1 whole chicken, 4-6 lbs.
1 bay leaf
4 peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
2 medium onions, 1 quartered, 1 thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 small turnip, peeled and thinly sliced

  1. Place carcasses or chicken necks/backs, chicken, and quartered onion in a large stockpot. Add bay leaf, peppercorns and salt. Add 1 gallon cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and let simmer gently for 1 hour. 
  2. Remove whole chicken, cut meat from bones, and reserve. Return bones, skin, and trimmings from chicken to pot and continue simmering 4-6 hours: the longer you cook it, the better the soup will be. Add water if the stock boils down.
  3. Strain stock through a fine mesh sieve. Allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight. Skim fat from top and reserve it for matzo balls, if making them.
  4. Reheat stock to a simmer. Add onion, carrot, and turnip, and cook just until they are tender: 10-15 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the cooked chicken, shredded. (Reserve the rest for another use.) Serve soup immediately, or reheat and serve later.
Serves  12-16

This makes a great base for matzo ball soup, as it is richly flavored, but plain enough not to compete with the whole matzo ball thing. If you aren't using it for this purpose, feel free to add any mild-flavored vegetables (i. e. cauliflower, green beans, etc.), seasonings (star anise, anyone?), or starches like noodles or rice, that you would like. The key thing is to have enough chicken and chicken bones, and to cook the stock long enough, to make a really flavorful broth.

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