Monday, January 11, 2010

A failure...

About ten years ago David did something which has become nearly mythic in our family cosmology. He made the most absolutely perfectly wonderful chicken soup from scratch.

He's made some fine soups since then, but nothing that matches the delicious savory splendor of that particular batch.

I keep trying to make good chicken soup from scratch and I am sorry so say that at best my soups are acceptable.

I use two three carcasses left over from whole chickens which I save from whenever I roast a whole chicken for dinner. I add a whole mess of thighs and legs, some gizzards and giblets, then carrots, celery, parsnips, onions and garlic, dill and parsley, peppercorns, some kosher salt and a bay leaf. I fill the pot with water and let it simmer for hours. The color is gorgeous, a deep buttery yellow. The flavor however? Eh. Okay. A little bland. I start getting nervous that my soup is not going well so I add salt. Sometimes I get a little carried away and end up with chicken saline solution.

This weekend I made another soup and sure enough it was bland. This time I decided to forgo the salt and add some Better Than Bouillon even though it contains that dirty whore of ingredients, corn syrup. The added bouillon seemed to help, but I still wasn't happy and since I had already soiled the sanctity of my soup I added a bit more bouillon. I tasted the soup and then added more and this my friends is when I once again achieved chicken saline solution.

Not willing to give up completely on my soup I made an important executive decision. I added some premade chicken broth to dilute the bouillon. After four cans of chicken broth I have returned the soup to the level of acceptable and that is the closest that this goyishe girl will come to success.

Please share tips, insights, recipes and chocolate.


Lisa said...

YOu have to know that it will never be like what he made. We have the best food here when you throw whats left in a pan and cook it. I do hope you find a good one though! We always laugh the clean out the refridgerator stews are the best ever!
Hugs, Lisa

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I've always wanted to cook chicken soup using the leftover bones from a roasted chicken. However, I have no faith that my efforts will result in anything less than chicken glue. Hope someone shows up with a good recipe!


Thea said...

Saute the onions carrots celery and garlic with the herbs and oil before you add anything. Get em good and soft and shiny and herby. Salt, pepper, and a few green things that are not dill. Thyme is good, oregano is surprisingly good. Even Herbes de Provence works. Dill gets lost - even in matzo balls. (I'm willing to bet you may have old herbs if you can't taste them in the soup. Anything older than 6 mos doesn't have oomph. go to Penzeys and sniff You'll see.) Add the broth and the chicken and stuff to your pre- new herbed sauteed stuff and that may perk things up.

Craig also likes to save gravy bits from roast chicken in the freezer to toss in sometimes - changes the flavor a little, but if you made a great rosemary lemon chicken, that gravy will do the trick. Have fun.

Julie said...

I totally nominated you for funniest blog. You make chicken soup funny. I cheat and put in a can of cream of chicken soup.

David W. Padrusch said...

PS-- The soup was lovely.

Anonymous said...

Follow Thea's advice and caramelize the vegetables. If you're going to use thighs and legs, trim off the meat and cleave the bones in two. Give the bones a quick roast under then broiler before adding them to the vegetables, water and the carcasses. And don't be afraid of the herbs. I'll often add a whole store bought bunch of fresh herbs to the mix. Let it simmer away for a hour or so, then drain the broth from the mix. Return the broth to the pot add the chicken and new vegetables and cook for a half hour.

Have fun with it. Add rice, orzo, barley or couscous.

Anonymous said...

It's not the herbs or how you treat the's the genes. Ours. I also make a chicken soup that tastes like chicken dish water.So I do not make it any more. I open a can or a box. My soup repertoire is down to two varieties...pea soup and vegetable soup. Sorry about that.
xoxo Mom