nourishing chicken stock and noodle soup

Around the time I read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto and became more interested in eating more real food and less junk, I purchased Nourishing Traditions, which is sort of the bible of the "slow food" movement. I've yet to adopt many of its traditional practices, but I've successfully made homemade chicken stock and wanted to share the recipe.

What other recipe says, "You are loved" quite as well as chicken noodle soup from scratch?

Making stock from chicken bones you might otherwise throw away is old-school thrifty and healthful. It's not just an old-wives tale that chicken soup is medicinal: gelatin-rich stock is nutritious and aids digestion. Plus, homemade stock has no weird additives, and you can control the sodium content.

Roasting Chicken:
First, I roasted a chicken (for the second time in my life.) It was a 6 1/2 lb chicken, and after cleaning it and patting it down (and removing the gizzards), I stuffed it with celery stalks and a quartered onion. Using a few tablespoons of butter, I rubbed the outside and put the rest under the skin, along with a mixture of a few teaspoons (combined) of garlic, thyme, and Italian seasoning. Then I squeezed a lemon over it, popped it in, and let it cook at 350 for about 2 1/2 hours (until the internal temperature reached 180), basting occasionally.

The chicken was moist and delicious. I could have made a good gravy, but instead I used the drippings in my stock. Jim cleaned most of the meat from the carcass, and I put it in the fridge for soup later.

Making Stock:
As per Nourishing Traditions, I broke or cut all the bones in half, to release maximum flavor and nutrients.

Bones, skins. and pan drippings went into my stock pot along with  
four quarts of cold water and
two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.  I also added a  
quartered onion, 
two smashed cloves of garlic, and
several carrots and celery stalks, cut into chunks, and 
three bay leaves.

Let it stand for 45 minutes to allow the vinegar to draw minerals from the bones. 

Then, bring to a boil, skim any scum that rises (I didn't actually have any), and turn the heat down to a simmer.

Let it simmer for anywhere from 6-24 hours. I set mine to low and let it go all night. Flavor takes time, and it's worth it. In the morning (after about 12 hours), I threw in a bunch of parsley and let it simmer another ten minutes. Then, I turned it off, fished out all the solids, and discarded them. After all that time, the veggies had given up all their goodness and any remainder meat had cooked too long to be very flavorful. (Remember, most of the meat was in my fridge, waiting for later.)

Strain the stock through a sieve and let cool. (I put mine out on the porch for a bit until it was cool enough to stick in the fridge--a perk of winter cooking.)

After a bit in the fridge, the fat will rise, and you can skim it off. (If you're making soup, you could probably just skip the whole cooling and skimming bit.) At this point, can or freeze your stock for future soups or recipes, or you make a delicious chicken noodle soup.  I improvised, and it turned out beautifully.

Making Chicken Soup:
I cut up more 
celery, carrots, garlic and an onionsauteeing and sweating them a bit in the pot before adding my stock back.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. I added a teaspoon each of garlic, 
sage, and
crushed rosemary,
2/3 tsp thyme
3 tsp parsley and

2 tsp salt. I added another tsp later but probably could have done with less.

I added 2/3 of a bag of noodles and let them cook for five minutes. Then I added my leftover chicken from the night before, and in a few minutes, it was ready to serve.

There you have it:  lots and lots of nutritious meals made from Sunday dinner leftovers, a few carrots, onions, some celery, noodles, and spice. How great is that?

We enjoyed our soup tonight with this deliciously bread recipe. Oh. My. Goodness.

I'm clearly a newbie at traditional cooking, so if anyone wants to leave a tip, I'd love to hear yours.  What are your favorite healthful foods to prepare?

Shared with Your Green Resource at SortaCrunchy, The Greenbacks Gal, A Delightful Home, and Live Renewed.  
images:  stock, carrots


Debbie said...

I've never made chicken stock but I've made vegetable stock. It is a great feeling to be self-sufficient like that. Headed over to check out the bread recipe.

Dorothy said...

Nourishing Traditions keeps popping up in the blogs I like to read. I'll have to check out a copy from the library.

I try really hard to go back to the basics when it comes to cooking. I make homemade chicken stock and then freeze it in ice cube trays. Once it is frozen, I pop them out and keep the cubes in glass jars in the freezer. It makes it really easy to use the broth whether the recipe calls for anywhere from 1/4 of a cup of broth to multiple cups.

Another thing I like to do is cook all of my beans from scratch. Since I stay home with the kiddo, having a pot of beans simmering on the stove is no big deal. I don't pre-soak them. I just cook them on alow heat until they are done (usually 3-5 hours). The only seasoning I add to the pot of beans and water is a single bay leaf. No added salt or anything weird that might come in a can, organic or not. I save alot of money this way, too.

Happy cooking :-)

Morgan Koji said...

When I am cleaning veggies for eating, I keep the scraps in a gallon sized bag in the freezer. Any thing I cut off a veg goes in the bag. Onion ends and peels, same with Carrots, Celery ends, any veggies that are looking a little too soft for eating. Then when I have enough bones for stock, I just empty out my veggie bag and I don't have to waste perfectly good veggies for stock making.

Alyssa said...

Your roasted chicken sounds wonderful and much more fancy than what I do! We get two chickens a month from lamppost farm ( and because they are free range, mostly grass fed, etc. they tend to be drier than your typical roasting chicken. I just thaw it out, rub the skin with a little butter and olive oil, salt and pepper then put some salt and pepper in the cavity. Then i roast it breast side down for one hour at 325, then flip it and up the temp to 375 until it's done. They are good and we use the meat for sandwiches all week (or casseroles, etc.) then I boil the carcass and some veggies/salt pepper for stock and stick it in the freezer. I love getting that many meals out of one chicken!

Penny said...

you remind me I have 2 chicken carcasses in the freezer for making stock. must do so! :) Which doesn't mean I don't use the powdered or liquid stock of course!

I do most things from scratch... baking, pasta sauces etc. Not so much bread making though I do some of that occasionally too.

Kelly Miller said...

I might try this. We cook lots of whole chickens and I always feel wasteful when i throw out the bones.

Christy said...

I think of it as liquid gold! Yummy. Sometimes, after the first batch of stock is strained I dump it all back in the crockpot, add some more water and do it again! It isn't as rich or thick but it is perfect for cooking beans in.

Unknown said...

Some of those nourishing traditions are a little scary to tackle when you're just starting out. But chicken stock is so easy and so worth it.

Jenni @ My Web of Life said...

This sounds SO good and I can't wait to try it. I'm gonna get me a chicken to roast!

(I love your writing style BTW - very funny!)

bethany said...

simma down nah, was an snl skit in the late 90s (?). you are so impressive and domestic!

Stacy @ A Delightful Home said...

YUM! This looks delicious. I can smell it just reading the recipe. Perfect for fall and winter.

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