Chicken Soup With Benefits 8.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Mar 14, 2017

In a little over an hour’s cooking time, you can have a flavorful golden broth, chicken that’s not overcooked (good for soup plus chicken salad) and crispy fried chicken skins.

If you started with a chicken that didn’t yield a lot of flavor, stir in a teaspoon or two of a chicken-flavored soup base, such as Better Than Bouillon. For a darker broth, see the VARIATION, below.

Make Ahead: The broth can be strained and used right away, but it tastes even better when it’s allowed to cool and refrigerate overnight -- right in the pot. The shredded chicken can be covered with broth and refrigerated for up to 3 days. The fried chicken skins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a day.


Servings:
8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8 servings; makes about 12 cups

Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons olive or safflower oil, plus 1 cup for the chicken skins
  • 4 small or 3 medium onions, cut into chunks
  • One 3- to 3 1/2-pound whole chicken
  • 12 cups water, preferably filtered
  • 2 ribs celery, preferably with leaves, cut into a few large pieces, plus 3 more ribs, chopped or sliced, for serving (may substitute or augment with 2 stems Chinese celery)
  • 1 large carrot, cut into a few large pieces, plus a few more peeled carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for serving
  • Kosher salt
  • Low-sodium chicken soup base (optional; see headnote)
  • Cooked and rinsed flat egg noodles (Amish style) or Grandmother’s Soup Kugel, for serving (optional; see related recipe)
  • Fresh dill fronds (may substitute coarsely chopped fresh tarragon)
  • Fresh lemon juice

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Directions

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the onions. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until some pieces have browned edges and the onions have picked up color.

Meanwhile, use kitchen shears or a sharp knife to remove the skin from the chicken. Don’t worry about the skin on the wings, which is trickier to remove; it will give the soup a little needed fat. Reserve the skin, and cut the chicken into a total of 12 or 13 pieces, including the neck (cut the breasts horizontally in half).

Shove the onions aside in the pot so you can add the chicken; the goal is to have as many pieces as possible come in contact with the bottom of the pot so they brown a little. You may add them in two batches; cook for about 10 minutes, turning them as needed.

Increase the heat to medium-high; pour in the water and toss in the celery and carrot, making sure the chicken is covered. Once the liquid comes to a full boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes. You don’t need to skim.

Meanwhile, heat the cup of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cut the skins into 1- or 2-inch pieces, stretching them as flat as you can. Carefully place one in the oil; if the oil bubbles around them, add half the remaining pieces of skin and fry for about 8 minutes, turning them until they are crisp and evenly golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season lightly with salt.

At this point, taste the broth. If it’s not chicken-y enough, stir in a teaspoon or two of the chicken soup base.

Remove from the heat. Once the pot is cool enough, cover and transfer to the refrigerator to rest overnight.

Uncover; skim and discard the congealed chicken fat on the surface (or reserve for another use). Transfer the chicken pieces with meat to a bowl. Discard the vegetables, chicken back and neck pieces. Strain the broth through a cheesecloth- or flour-sack-cloth-lined fine-mesh strainer, discarding any solids. You should have about 10 cups.

Pour the broth into a wide pot; add the chopped or sliced celery and carrots. Warm through over medium heat.

Meanwhile, shred the chicken, placing some of it (to taste) in the broth, along with the noodles or slices of soup kugel, if using, the dill fronds and lemon juice. Taste, and season with salt, as needed.

Once the chicken has warmed through and the vegetables are barely tender, ladle into individual bowls. Garnish with the fried chicken skins.

VARIATION: For a darker broth, cut the onions in half instead of into chunks. Sear in the oil, cut sides down, until charred, before adding the remaining ingredients.

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Recipe Source

From deputy Food editor Bonnie S. Benwick.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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