I don't know about all of you, but I have to admit that I'm a little addicted to those inexpensive, quick and yummy, fully-cooked rotisserie chickens you can pick up at your local supermarket. Although they may not be homemade, they are tender, juicy and just the thing to feed the family on a crazy, busy night.
But what do you do with the leftovers after the family has eaten their fill? When there's not enough left for another meal, but there is definitely meat on the bones? Well, if you ask my family, they'd tell you - chicken soup!
Because of these tough economic times I've learned that you can easily make your own chicken stock (and then chicken soup) with leftovers for cheap. This might be common knowledge to you culinary experts out there, but I guess I just never put two and two together. I figured you had to have 30+ ingredients and spend hours in the kitchen to pull together a decent batch of stock. Not so, my friends! Making simple chicken stock actually tends to be super easy!
It's funny to me, to be honest, that I find making my own stock to be a good thing, because growing up I couldn't even touch raw chicken (I could hardly even look at it). Heaven forbid I ever be asked to eat chicken off the bone!!! I was spoiled with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and wouldn't have anything to do with blood, bones or "innards". I liked my chicken to look as little like an actual animal as it could. Fortunately, my ability to handle raw meat, bones and innards have matured with me and I am proud to say that with a deep breath and some pep-talk I am able to dive in and handle a chicken carcass all on my own. (Aren't you so proud...)
Now, on to the recipe . . .
Since I feed a family of 6 + plus my parents on a regular basis (and I love leftovers), my portion sizes might be quite a bit bigger than the normal family's. Feel free to half the recipe to suit your needs.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE STOCK:
2 rotisserie chicken carcasses
2 onions, quarterd
3-4 bay leaves
fresh vegetables (halved carrots, celery, leek, garlic, etc), if desired
other seasonings to taste (fennel, thyme, parsley, peppercorns, etc)
Place chicken carcasses in a soup kettle or Dutch oven and cover with water.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2-3 hours (or more).
Remove carcass; cool. Set aside 4 qt. broth. Skim surface of broth and remove fat and solids.
Remove meat from bones and break into bite-size pieces; set aside.
INGREDIENTS FOR CREAMY CHICKEN AND RICE SOUP:
2-3 cups leftover meat from the carcasses
3-4 carrots, chopped
2-3 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cups fresh, frozen or canned corn
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
3 cups half and half or milk
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
4 Tbs salt, or to taste
1 tsp pepper
In a soup kettle or Dutch oven, saute the onions, carrots and celery in butter until tender.
Reduce heat and add corn; stir in flour until blended.
Gradually add 2 qts. of reserved broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Add cream, rice, salt, pepper, remaining broth and reserved chicken. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until rice is tender.
Serve with fresh bread and enjoy!
And here is an honest, revealing picture that proves to you that I am not all the domestic genius that I wish I was. Do not leave a covered, simmering pot unattended!