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Chicken Soup for the Soul ... Who Can't Stand To Waste

By Caroline Clough in Food on Aug 22, 2007 5:00PM

2007_august_chicagoist_soup.jpgA few weeks back Chicagoist shared our favorite recipe/technique for roasting a chicken. Since that time we have, yet again, impressed our dining guests with its result. We had assumed we would be feeding four people, but we ended up feeding just two (and ourselves). This smaller number led to a fair amount of leftover meat for us to deal with in the following days. We had ourselves a chicken sandwich, and we considered any number of ways to transmogrify our chicken into a new exciting meal, but in the end, we realized that there is no shame in making a good chicken soup with leftover chicken. It does make a fair amount of sense; you can make a wonderful stock from the carcass, and you'll be amazed by how much meat is on a chicken when you actually set your mind to picking it all off. We made this over the last few rainy days, and it was, at that time, quite a comfort. Of course, today seems to be drying out and heating up ... but keep this recipe in mind for future chicken endeavors.

This is a recipe that is designed to utilize and not waste any bit of roasted chicken. Obviously it would be best to actually start with the chicken, but if you don't have the leftovers lying around you could also make this with store-bought chicken breasts and chicken stock. Because the original roasted chicken recipe had the extra tasty factor of cilantro butter, your soup ends up being extremely rich and smooth.

What You Need:

1 leftover roasted chicken (our chicken still had one full breast and drumstick)
1 vidalia or yellow onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed with the flat side of a knife
1 1/2 cup mini red potatoes, thickly sliced
1 1/2 cup mini Yukon gold potatoes, thickly sliced
1 1/2 cup loose corn (we used frozen corn, but if you can find good, fresh corn go for it)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
2 tablespoons curry powder
3 tablespoons salt
Pepper to taste
1 big ol' stock pot

What You Do:

1. Pick all the good meat off your chicken. If you have a full breast, slice it as you would to serve regularly. Really get into the chicken, get your hands dirty. Get it all: the light and the dark, the easily found and the more elusive. Put that meat aside.

2. Take out the onion that was in the chicken and cut it up a bit. Put the onion bits and chicken remains into a stock pot. Fill the pot with water so that it covers the chicken completely (about 6-8 quarts). Add one tablespoon of salt and the cilantro to the pot.

3. Bring the pot and its contents to a boil. Boil for five minutes then turn the heat down and let the bones etc simmer for about an hour (you can do it for longer if you like but an hour should be the minimum).

4. Drain the stock, getting all the bones, skin, onions and cilantro out and leaving only a rich golden liquid behind.

5. Return the stock to the pot and then add the potatoes, Vidalia onion, garlic, remaining salt, curry powder and pepper. Bring to a strong simmer and cook twenty minutes.

6. Add the corn and chicken (we shredded some of the meat but also included larger, more satisfying chunks) and cook for an additional forty five minutes to an hour.

And that's it.

Notes and thoughts:
1. We chose not to include noodles or rice and opted for the potatoes to be the starch like component of the soup. Though with the strong curry powder flavor a little rice might be a nice addition.

2. You could thicken this baby up with a bit of roux.

3. We put a bit of Chipotle Tabasco sauce into our second bowl of the soup and it was quite good. You could either do the same or even add actual smoked chipotle peppers into the broth!