Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Staff Council

Healthy Eating: Chicken Soup

Posted on January 9, 2013

One of my favorite meals to make during the cold winter months is either turkey or chicken soup. It starts with a flavorful stock, rich with nutrients. The key to a tasty and nutritious stock is using chicken or turkey bones and lots of healthy vegetables. Whenever I roast a chicken I save the carcass and the icky stuff wrapped up inside of it, and put it in the freezer for soup day. I remove the neck and gizzards from their wrapping and place them in a freezer bag. It’s easier to store and then put them in the pot later, this way. The marrow in the bones is supposed to be very nutritious. Cooking the bones for a long time draws nutrients out of the bones and marrow. You can use uncooked chicken pieces instead of the carcass, as long as it has bones. If you do it right, the broth should be gelatinous after it has cooled. Don’t worry if it’s not gelatinous, it will still be healthy and tasty!

Ingredients:

5 lbs. of turkey or chicken (cooked carcass or chicken parts)
2 medium carrots, chopped into 2 inch pieces
2 celery stalks, chopped into 2 inch pieces
3 medium or 2 large onions, outer skin peeled and cut into quarters
1 parsnip, chopped into 2 inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, left whole and unpeeled
Handful of fresh parsley
1 tsp. of peppercorns
1 Tbsp. of kosher salt

I use a large pot to cook the ingredients, and then another to drain the broth into when it’s done. If you don’t have two large pots, you can ladle into smaller bowls or containers through a colander or strainer. I sometimes use cheesecloth in my colander to strain out all the ingredients, leaving me with pure stock.

Place all of the ingredients into your pot. Pour enough cold water into the pan to ALMOST cover all the vegetables and chicken. I take off only the loose outer skin on the onions and leave the rest on. I think it brings a beautiful color to the stock. Bring the pot to a boil. Cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Let it cook for at least 1 hour, preferable 1 ½ or more. Your home will smell wonderful.

Once the stock has cooked for the appropriate time, I let it sit off the hot burner for a ½ hour. Now it’s time to start the cooling off process. I like pull out the carcass and any large vegetable pieces and put them in a bowl or cookie sheet. There’s less splash when your strain the stock into the colander if all the big pieces are out. Once you have strained it into another large pot, let it sit for about an hour. You never want to put something hot in your refrigerator. It will lower the temperature of the refrigerator. After an hour you can ladle the stock into muffin tins or containers of various sizes. Skim any fat off the top. I like to freeze the stock in ice cube trays and small containers, then pop into a plastic bag and store them in the freezer. If you ever need some chicken stock for a recipe, you can just pop out some cubes. When I store the stock in my refrigerator, I skim the fat off the top before I use it. It will take about 8 hours for the fat to rise to the top and the stock to become gelatinous. I love to heat up the stock and add cooked pasta like tubetti or acini de pepe and top it off with freshly grated parmesan. If there is any chicken or turkey left on the bones, I store it in a separate container and then add to my soup for a meal in a bowl. Chicken or turkey stock is very easy to make. It just takes time. Try it this weekend!

Submitted by Nora Brosseau
Photo: Nora Brosseau

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