Rotisserie Chicken is a mom's best friend! Seriously, for those of us who work (admittedly, I only work part time, but still) that wearisome question of what's for dinner is a snap if a rotisserie chicken is hanging out in the fridge, right?
Well, I've found a simple way to one-up the rotisserie...
I use the carcass and all the juices to make chicken noodle soup. My kids love it, and it tastes so good...especially on a cold winter night if you're down with a cold. It's a great comfort-food meal.
So here are my non-directions (because I really don't think there's any way to mess this up) for how to make chicken noodle soup from your rotisserie chicken leftovers! Oh, and by the way, if you have a Costco or Sam's membership...the chickens you buy there are cheaper and about 3 times as big as the ones you get from the regular grocery store these days!
Put your chicken carcass (yes, bones and all) into a dutch oven or large soup pot and cover about 3/4 of the way with chicken broth, veggie broth or a combo. Don't forget all the goodies in the container the chicken came in. The cold temperature of your fridge will have caused it to solidify into a jelly-like substance. Just pour a little hot water over it to reconstitute it and pour it right into your soup pot. There's a lot of flavor in there that we don't want to miss out on.
I like to add a couple of peeled carrots, and a couple of celery stalks, simple cut in half and tossed in. Most of the time I'll quarter up an onion and add that too (didn't get a pic of that). This time I added a small handful of fresh thyme from my herb garden. I don't always add thyme..like I said, this is a loose recipe, just go with what you feel like. I pulled the leaves off the thyme, roughly chopped them and threw them in. I also added a little grated black pepper, no salt.
Here's what it all looks like in the pot. It's still all cold right now, you can see the jelled pieces of chicken juices on the top. Seriously don't forget that stuff, it really has a lot of flavor!
Cover the pot and bring it to a boil and then let slowly simmer (with the top off or at an angle so the steam can escape) for about 1-1/2-2 hours until the meat is falling off the bones.
At that point, everything gets removed from the pot except the broth. Use a large slotted spoon or skimmer to remove everything to a large bowl. Cool it slightly.
Here's where it gets fun (not really...only if you like messy fingers). You're going to separate and discard the stuff you don't want in your soup (bones, skin, celery, fat, etc) from the meat and carrots. I use my fingers because it's just easier to feel what's what.
Each pot of soup I make is slightly different. This one has quite a lot of chicken. I just shred it into pieces with my fingers. I cut the carrots into chunks. If you like celery and onions in your soup, by all means cut it up and leave it in. You can see all the discarded gunk in the background; it's easiest if you have two bowls handy (I save the container the chicken came in and throw my discards in that because then I can just throw it out!). I know, I'm brilliant, right?
Then carefully add all this goodness back into the broth. Now's a good time to taste it and adjust seasonings.
Bring it back up to a low boil and add your noodles. Let them cook according to the package directions, and you have just made homemade chicken noodle soup! Serve with toast, crackers or crusty bread and enjoy your efforts! I love to add a little chopped fresh parsley to the top of my bowl, but my kids prefer me to leave it off theirs!
Sometimes, if I'm feeling especially frisky, I'll add a big handful of raw spinach or even kale in the bottom of my bowl and pour the soup on top. It stays firm but adds a nice big dose of vitamins and other goodness that I don't even realize I'm eating. Then I'll add a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and croutons - now that's yummy!
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