Pennsylvania Chicken Soup (Waste Not, Want Not)

Couple of weeks ago I cooked roast chicken for Sunday dinner.  I had found about a 5 pound bird for $4.51 and was happy because I would get a couple of meals and soup out of it.  Every week I make soup out of something because I grew up eating home made soup once a week for supper.  Sometimes it was made in the middle of the week from left over meat or it was made on Saturday from bought soup bones.  The reason for soup on Saturday was because it was house cleaning day. That made it easy because the soup bones was put on to simmer around noon and left to simmer most of the afternoon.  Then late in the afternoon, the rest of the ingredients was added to finish off making the soup.  We ate it when all the chores was done.

If there was soup during the week it was usually a soup that was made from the a bone from Sunday’s dinner like bean, split pea or chicken soup.  The broth from Sunday’s dinner was made Sunday evening from the pork or ham bone. With chicken soup, the broth was made as soon as the meat was cut from the chicken.  The chicken carcass was put right back into the roasting pan that it had just come out of and covered with water.  The lid put back on the roasting pan and left to simmer on top of the stove for a couple of hours to make chicken broth.  When the broth was cooled enough to handle, the bones and broth was strained through a calender.  After that the colander with the bones and strained broth was left to finish cooling.  Once it cooled down you could pick through the colander for the bits of left over meat that was then put back into the broth and the broth placed into the refrigerator.  The soup was then made a couple of days later with noodles and a few vegetables.

Home made soup is a wonderful way of stretching the food budget.  Also it is a way to use up leftovers like meat and vegetables in a meal that doesn’t look like leftovers.  Today with our wonderful refrigerators, we can freeze extra broth and leftovers for soup.  I keep a freezer bag that I put cooked vegetables that are left over in small amounts after a meal. It is usually just a spoonful or two. Really not enough to save to reheat.  I just collect all those little dabs of veggies in that freezer bag and in a couple of weeks I have enough for soup.  Other foods that I put in the leftover freezer bag can be the one slice of tomato no one ate or the extra chopped celery or onion that you over chopped for a recipe.  I refuse to waste the tops of the celery stocks so I will cut them up with the leaves into that bag.  If a recipe calls for less canned tomatoes then what was in the can, I just dump the excess canned tomatoes right into the bag.  Left over cooked rice is also a good addition to the freezer bag.  Sometimes the bag is blessed with leftover small pieces of meat or gravy after a meal.  In that case all that will be needed to make soup is some bouillon cubes and you have a meal when the cupboard is bare.

The recipe I am going to share with you is a basic chicken soup using a chicken breast.  You can make it the same way with other parts of the chicken or with home made stock with leftover roast chicken meat just like I described earlier in this diary.  The other feature of this soup is that you put 2 cups of soup in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Then it is added back to the soup to make it creamy and thick.  I usually don’t do that to my soup unless I want more of a chowder like soup.

Pennsylvania Chicken Noodle Soup

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 large chicken breast, skinned (about 1/2 lb.)

4 oz. noodles, narrow, wide or Dutch

1 cup corn frozen or canned

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Stir in the celery, carrot and onion; coat with butter.  Add the chicken.  Cook over medium low hear, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes.  Turn several times.  Remove chicken. Cut into small cubes.  Set aside.  Add the chicken broth to the saucepan.  Bring to a rapid boil.  Add the noodles and corn. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes until noodles are just done.  Remove 2 cups of the soup and blend until smooth. Return mixture to soup.  Add the chicken.  Heat for a minute or two.  Season with pepper.  Add salt, if needed.  Serve steaming hot in large, wide bowls.  Makes 4 servings.

I know it is hot out there right now and soup just seems yummier in the cooler weather.  I like to take my soup out side in the shade and eat it with a sandwich and jello.  We don’t get winter weather here in South Florida.

I hope the tips I gave you on saving leftover veggies will give a helping hand with soup making so you are covered when you are out of money and out of ideas.

Crossed Posted on Trkingmomoe’s Blog

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