Easy, Economical & Delicious – Homemade Chicken Stock and a Super Sensational Soup!

I have a confession to make……………
I LOVE rotisserie chicken! I pick one up quite frequently at my local Costco and use it for quick and easy sandwiches, salads, enchiladas, lasagnas, chilies, and a host of other delicious dishes. This prepared poultry gives me a fast jump start when preparing all of these wonderful recipes in lieu of roasting, poaching, baking or grilling my own chicken.

There is an added bonus in that, after I’ve used all the meat, the leftover carcass, skin and bits of chicken make an incredibly delicious,  extremely economical chicken stock. I have control of the sodium and also the fat. The stock does simmer for hours on end to result in the delicious, flavorful broth, but it really doesn’t need much help from me. If I’m going to be around the house anyway, I start a pot of this simmering concoction early in the day and by lunch time I have a savory stock that is ready to be used for soups, chilies, stews, or to be frozen and used at a later date. The flavor difference from canned broth is not even comparable……….. oh, and I love that all of the ingredients in this broth would have been familiar to my grandmother! Check out the ingredients in a average can of chicken broth:

CHICKEN BROTH, SALT, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, DEXTROSE, YEAST EXTRACT, CHICKEN FLAVOR, FLAVORING, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, CHICKEN FAT, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, CHICKEN BROTH POWDER.

vs.

WATER, CHICKEN, CARROTS, CELERY, ONION, FRESH HERBS, SEA SALT

Which would you rather have? I honestly am not a health fanatic (I’ve eaten way too much of the Brown Sugar and Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pound Cake to qualify!) and I’m not going to lie and tell you that I always make my own stock/broth; I work, have a family and a life outside the kitchen ………… but when I do have the time and opportunity, it just can’t be beat!


I did make homemade stock today from a rotisserie chicken carcass for a yummy chicken soup. I was inspired by a recipe from the October issue of Cooking Light for a Spinach, Pasta and Pea Soup. I changed so many aspects of this recipe that’s it’s probably not recognizable from the original; I added chicken, changed the orzo to Israeli couscous (I think it’s prettier), used tiny frozen peas instead of chick peas and exchanged the spinach for arugula! Like I said, I was inspired by the picture of this lovely soup :). The finished product is quite delicious and perfect with a loaf of crusty bread and a salad for these cool, crisp days of fall.

Rotisserie Chicken Stock

Ingredients:
1 leftover carcass and skin from one rotisserie chicken (or home roasted chicken)
4 quarts cold water
1 large onion, quartered
3 carrots, cleaned but unpeeled
3 stalk celery, with leaves included, each cut in half
a handful of fresh herbs of your choice, I used parsley and chives, but use whatever you have
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled and smashed
a few peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:
1. Place chicken carcass and skin in a large pot. Cover with 4 quarts of cold water. Add all other ingredients and bring to a simmer, not a boil. Boiling will cause the broth to turn out cloudy.

2. Let broth simmer, uncovered for at least 3 hours, occasionally skimming the surface with a large spoon to remove any sediment that rises to the top. About one half of the water will evaporate – you want this to concentrate the flavors.

3. Strain through a very fine mesh strainer or a regular strainer that has been lined with cheesecloth. Pour into small containers or jars and freeze if not using within 2 days. Will keep in the freezer indefinitely.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

Lemony Chicken Soup with Pearl Pasta, Peas & Arugula

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup finely chopped shallots, about 2 medium size shallots
1 ½ quarts homemade chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth
8 ounces uncooked pearl pasta (Israeli couscous), approximately 1 3/4 cups
grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
shredded meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, about 4 cups
2 cups tiny frozen peas
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup finely sliced fresh chives
juice of 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste
6 ounces arugula, don’t panic when you see how much this is, it will diminish greatly in volume when it takes a swim in the hot soup

Directions:
1. Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots and sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. 

2. Add chicken stock or broth and bring to a boil. Add orzo and lemon zest. 
3. Cover and cook approximately 12 minutes or until couscous is done. Stir in lemon juice, parsley, chives and arugula. Try a little sample and add sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Inspired by Cooking Light



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