Our whole house has been battling a cold this week. Nothing serious like the flu–just a pesky runny nose and cough and the general ickies. I decided that today called for a sick day, and I kept Levi home from school. We watched tv on the couch, read stories, and played with trains. And I made some delicious sick-day chicken soup. Because there’s nothing better when you’re feeling icky than chicken soup!
I’ll be honest though. I usually don’t like making it. It’s such a pain, what with the raw chicken (I avoid raw meat whenever possible… ick) and all the skimming.
It turns out there is an amazing chicken soup shortcut, and imagine who told me about it but my everything-from-scratch Jewish home-cook mom! I could hardly believe it.
The shortcut, unsurprisingly, is to use a whole store-bought rotisserie chicken. I buy rotisserie chicken all the time and use it for all kinds of things, but it has never occurred to me to use it in soup. You still have to chop your veggies and let it all simmer, and then strain it when you’re done. But it’s a heck of a lot easier (and cleaner), and just as delicious.
And it’s still the best thing on a sick day.
Here’s how you do it:
- 1 whole organic* store-bought rotisserie chicken (skin on)
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 8-10 cups chicken stock (you can do a stock/water combo if you don’t have enough stock on hand)
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- Optional: whole what corkscrew pasta
* The organic chicken really makes a difference. I recently picked up a conventional rotisserie chicken (WF was out of rotisserie chickens?!), and I was shocked by the difference. I’m used to organic rotisserie chicken, and I couldn’t believe how much extra fat and weird gunk the conventional chicken had. When you use an organic chicken to make the soup, there is almost no skimming at the end.
Place your whole rotisserie chicken in a soup pot (I typically use my 7-quart oval Le Creuset). Add everything else. Simmer on medium-low for about an hour (can be longer).
After your soup has been simmering a while, use tongs to pull out the big pieces of chicken, skin and bone; put them in a bowl and set it aside. Then, using a mesh colander or strainer, strain the soup into another large pot. (If you want, before straining the soup you can use a slotted spoon to fish out the carrots and some of the celery and put them in the pot you will strain your soup into. It’s an extra step, but I like doing it.)
From the bowl of chicken you set aside, use your tongs to pull out chicken to add back into your soup. Using two forks, gently pull it apart. When you’ve pulled as much chicken as you want in your soup, you can add it into your pot.
Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper or italian seasoning if necessary.
If using pasta in your soup, cook it separately according to the directions on the box, and add it at the end.
You’re feeling better already, aren’t you?