5 lbs bone-in chicken breasts
8 cans chicken broth
1 onion, chopped and divided
3 ribs celery, divided
4 carrots, divided
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp poultry seasoning
2 tsp parsley
½ tsp tarragon
Rip that fatty skin right off the chicken and discard. (It makes the soup greasy). In an 8 quart saucepan, simmer chicken for two hours with ½ of a chopped onion, 1 carrot and 1 rib of celery which you’re going to break into three or four pieces. Cover the pan, but leave cover askew. You want the broth to cook down.
Remove chicken from pan. I always tear the bones off and throw them back in the pot while I’m peeling and chopping vegetables. Put chicken in the fridge. Before adding carrots, celery, garlic and reserved onion to the pan, strain the broth to remove the bones and vegetables.
To strain the broth, use a large pan or bowl to catch the broth. Line the bottom of a colander with cheesecloth. (In a pinch you can use a new Wet Wipe and/or some paper toweling. I’m such a fraidy cat about chemicals, so if I have to use a Wet Wipe, I wash it in dish water and rinse it well before I strain my broth). Slowly pour the broth over the cheesecloth and it will filter out any small pieces of fat, bones, cooked vegetables, etc. Let it drain well so you don’t lose a drop of that liquid gold.
Now it’s time to add 2 ribs of celery, and 3 carrots, which you will chop, dice, or roll cut. I always do a diagonal cut because I think it’s pretty. Starting at the tapered end of the carrot or celery, make a diagonal cut with a sharp knife. Turn the carrot a quarter of a turn and cut again, moving up the carrot as you go. This cut gives you a pretty uniform size. Simmer for another hour with cover askew. Add some of the chicken to the pan. This recipe makes a lot and I use the extra chicken for other meals. i.e. chicken pot pie, chicken and biscuits, chicken chimichangas, chicken burritos, chicken and dumplings, etc. About fifteen minutes before serving, add the seasonings.
You will note that I have not added any noodles to the recipe ingredients, although there is ditalini in the photo. Here’s why. Noodles do NOT hold up after they’ve been cooked and frozen. Since we normally don’t eat this as a meal, (the main reason I make my soup is for when people are feeling sicky). I always have containers of it in the freezer and everyone knows it. This is why they all want the recipe since I’m not in NY any more to give them mine. Ha ha. OK, so you have a few choices. Add rice and let it simmer in the soup. Rice freezes great. Or add your noodles when you’re heating up the soup. If you add a sturdier pasta such as ditalini or farfalle, and you won’t have the problem.
At this point you can eat some soup and freeze the rest, or save some of the broth, and leftover chicken to make other meals. (Which I mostly always do. It saves a lot of work later and you know how we love our Westover’s Leftovers).
Feel free to add a can of tomatoes or some fresh tomatoes if you want to.
Why this soup is so good:
Starting out with chicken broth instead of water gives instant flavor and you’ll end up with a fabulously flavorful soup.
Using bone-in chicken enriches the broth even more and is incredibly healthy.
Adding a little poultry seasoning and tarragon gives the soup another layer of flavor.
If you’re making this for sickies, freeze small batches in quart freezer bags. You know when you’re sick you don’t want a lot of solids, so don’t put too much chicken or vegetables in it. The broth is the ticket. If you’re freezing containers for future meals, load it up with chicken and vegetables.
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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT?