Unless you are on the east coast I know you are thinking, soup?! How can you think of soup? It is boiling here!
Here, it is bloody freezing. It was 7C when I went out for a very short brisk walk yesterday so I knew the time to write about my latest chicken broth adventure was here.
I asked my mom what was the cheapest thing I could use to make chicken broth and she said to ask my butcher for chicken backs. I remembered my sister Shannon does this all the time. I asked two butchers at two different stores and they both said no. One actually recommended I pick up a carton of chicken stock, not getting the point to the question at all.
Facebook friends suggested I pick up a chicken but they were not cheap! The idea is I wanted to use parts of the chicken to make just the broth like my mom does. Yes, I would have all that meat but I just wanted broth and could not afford a +$10 chicken.
I ended up buying chicken thighs for $5 instead. Mom said it was a good choice because the meat should be easy to remove. Wings would have worked but I would not have any meat. I figured for the money, this went the farthest for the least.
I pretty much followed the routine that you can see in my homemade broth tutorial. I did add the bones of a roasted chicken but my mom’s secret ingredient this time? Parsnips! She insisted that parsnips will round out all the flavours and give me a nice deeply flavoured broth.
I added water to the pot, just to cover everything.
It boiled darn it! I tried to bring it up to a slow simmer but it went crazy. Easy to skim though.
I cooked everything for an hour on a slow simmer. I did not want the chicken to over-cook. I strained the broth, taking out the pieces of chicken. I removed the chicken which came off easily, just like Mom said it would. I let both the broth and the chicken come to room temperature and then I put it in the fridge.
I skimmed off the fat. See how gooepy it is? That is what you want. That is REAL chicken broth. I appreciate the package kind, makes my life easier, but it is not the same.
I decided to make my mom’s chicken noodle soup and her secret? Canned peas, right into the broth. I have tried making it without the canned peas, she is right, just not the same.
I added egg noodles which later soaked up all that broth, damn it! Oh well…
Once the noodles were cooked I added the chicken to heat through. I did not want to cook it again because that would have toughened the meat.
Delicious! I had this for lunch yesterday and Mom, of course, was right! The parsnips really do add a wonderful depth of flavour, truly finishing off the broth.
My mom made homemade soup all the time when I was growing up and we always used soup spoons when we had her delicious bowls of soup but those spoons seem to have all but disappeared.
My Superstore sells a smaller version as “bouillon spoons” and they work great but still, not the same.
So many things of the past are disappearing. I tried to make another soup that my mom loves but it required a smoked ham hock. My butcher said they no longer sell those. When I asked about the chicken backs I was told that all the chicken comes in pre-packaged. I have to wonder, what the hell do they do as butchers now? Everything is pre-packaged and what used to be considered traditional cuts of meat for soup-making are disappearing.
At least I have my mini soup spoons and parsnip-infused chicken broth but still, it worries me. Are we losing touch with old traditions of making food? Traditions that saved us money and allowed us to make food from scratch.
We are lucky enough to have a local grocery store that still does its own meat processing. They can get anything you ask for. At the culinary center, Sharon is able to get the things she needs for the “odd” recipes, such as fresh ground lamb! I’m sorry to hear that it’s so hard to get these “Old-fashioned” foodie things. I think that there is so much lost by the fact that people don’t cook real food anymore. I missed out for this year, but for next summer I’m going to order a farm share from a local veggie farm. It will challenge me to use up a ton of veggies each week. I will frequent our local markets this summer though, for all the yummy fresh stuff! 🙂
Debra She Who Seeks says
Nice to know that canned peas are good for something.
I bought soup spoons at a little store in the east end of Toronto a while back. I always had them growing up too.
Suzie Ridler says
Tammy, so glad that you can get real meat cuts like that, that is awesome. Apparently there is a place here in the next burb where you can get it but it might as well be on the other side of the moon for me. So happy for you that you will be doing farm share, that is amazing!
Debra, I feel the same way! I made her soup without them once (I abhor canned peas) but it wasn’t the same.
Amelia, I will have to keep an eye out for soup spoons when I am in Toronto next time!
Yum, that soup looks really good! Those are some expensive chickens! We can still get hamhocks in the supermarket for now. Who would’ ve thought a can of peas would make that much difference?
Nothing beats homeade chicken soup, delicious and healing. I always go with the chicken thighs as well for my broth, they have that extra “fat” for flavour and reasonably priced.
Nice tip about the parsnips, I’ll try it next time. I actually don’t mind parsnips oven roasted with a medley of fall veggies, Jamie Oliver has a nice recipe.
Anna C says
Hi Susie, The soup looks hearty and yummy. Never thought of using parsnips in the broth. In a pinch,I sometimes make a chicken noodle soup with leftover store bought B.B.Q. chicken. It helps relieve the guilt, as nothing goes to waste.
Suzie, when you strained the broth did you discard the veggies (like compost) or did you use them for something else? I’m no pro at making my own broth but you made it look easier than most of the recipes I’ve browsed and I’m going to do it. RAIN in the forecast tomorrow too! YAY! Well, “yay” for another soup day anyhow… not yay for the kids wanting to be in the house. Why don’t they just go outside and get a little wet and dirty – I’m cool with that!?
Anna, did you eat all the chicken off the BBQ chicken first and boil the bones with veg?
Oh yeah, I too find it a shame that it is hard or next to impossible to find the now-odd cuts. We are losing that touch but I have a feeling we’ll bring back cooking from ingredients.
Suzie Ridler says
Anna, that’s what I did with my roasted chicken from the deli, just added it to the broth along with the thighs.
Rana, I composted the veggies. I push the heck out of them with a ladle for them to give up juices as much as possible.
It is easy, I promise! It is one of the first things I taught myself to do. I guess people just aren’t making broths themselves anymore and that is why the cuts are hard to find. Or they want you to buy it from a carton but there is no comparison!
Lucy Ladham-Dyment says
Most of the meat – especially ground meat – comes pre-packaged – bec. of e coli and the likes.