Sunday, October 10, 2021

A chicken soup win

Yesterday night, I made homemade chicken soup for dinner. It was the second time in as many months, and this time I stumbled on a far better (for me) method of making it. Naturally, there’s a story to that, and it’s about more than mere soup.

When I posted about this on my personal Facebook, I described it this way:
Someone in this house who I won’t name, but we’ll call him “Arthur”, ordered a bag of frozen chicken legs with his last order delivered from the supermarket because they were on special, and they were something Nigel suggested years ago so I could have them on hand, like for the slow cooker, but I never did buy a bag. Maybe it’s because they were ordered online, not bought in person, but that “someone” didn’t realise exactly how huge a 5kg bag of chicken legs is. Oops. Had to make room in the freezer, which wasn’t horrible, but not easy.
I intended to use my slow cooker, but to cook it from frozen would mean I’d have to start it very early in the morning and at the moment I don’t do early mornings. Instead, I thawed six drumsticks in the fridge over a couple days with the intention of making them in the slow cooker (thawed, they’d take much less time), but didn’t feel like doing it at any time in the morning (most mornings the idea of doing anything dinner-like is pretty unappealing; that’s always been the case).

Instead, I used those thawed drumsticks to make oven fried chicken, which is something I used to make all the time when I was younger, but have never made in New Zealand. It smelled awesome while it was cooking, but was surprisingly bland when I ate it. It also turned out that I’d forgotten something important: I don’t like eating chicken on the bone. This was made worse because I’d cooked six drumsticks so I could have some cold for lunch the next day—and that wasn’t my best idea, either. I needed another solution.

That led me to my soup last night. I took six legs (a little over a kilo, btw) and boiled them from frozen (it doesn’t take long). I then lifted the legs into a strainer to cool, making sure there were no bones in the broth, then put in raw chopped carrot and celery, plus a handful of frozen peas and corn (the last bit in the bag). I added a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and then turned the heat back on while I picked the chicken off the bones and tore it into nice small pieces. I did this all by hand so I could feel if there were any boney or gristley bits to make sure none got into my soup. I put the shredded chicken back in the pot, along with the fully-cleaned bones, and heated it all up until the veggies softened.

I then added some egg noodles I had, and even threw in a small handful of dried spiral pasta I had left over in the pantry. I heated it further until the noodles were cooked. I removed the bones with a pair of tongs, and served it up (photo above).

It was yummy and made enough for tonight as well as today’s lunch. Leo even got a bit of skin with his dinner (and he was so happy!).

Nearly a month ago, I made a roast chicken dinner with an eye toward using the leftover chicken in additional meals. However, it turned out I’d ordered in a bigger chicken than I’d realised (apparently an ongoing theme…), and so, I had a lot leftover. I made sandwiches and some other things (including giving some to Leo), but I’d always intended on boiling the bones to make stock, so I decided to use the last of the leftover chicken to make soup. The result was very similar to last night’s, however, last night’s soup was definitely better because it didn’t have any stray tiny bones like last month’s did. I think I prefer making chicken soup this way from now on.

I summed it up in my Facebook post:
So, “someone” ordered a massive bag of frozen chicken drumsticks, but I found a way to use them without having to gnaw on the chicken bones. Score!
Writing about all that, and reflecting on my fried chicken experience that led me to make the soup last night, I realised that Nigel probably suggested the drumsticks in the first place because he liked gnawing the bones and always left them totally clean. Nigel would often playfully growl at me, “look how much meat you left on the bones!” and then he’d often “clean” them for me. I told him that gnawing on bones made me feel too much like a caveman, and I liked to think I was a bit more evolved and civilised. In fact, when I cook chicken, it’s usually boneless and skinless chicken—more expensive, but so worth it to me—or a whole chicken where I’ll ordinarily only eat the sliced breast meat. I don’t mind picking the leftover chicken off the bones to use in a more civilised dish.

The important part of all this, and humour aside, is really that I continue to find ways of doing things the work for me. That, and I got some yummy chicken soup out of the deal. That really is a score.


Roger Owen Green said...

I hope you fired whoever bought all of those frozen chicken legs!

Arthur Schenck said...

I assure you he received a sternly worded email!