In my previous post on Chicken Cacciatore I used the meaty parts of a whole chicken and was left with almost 2.25 lbs. of chicken with a little bit of meat and loads of flavor. So, while the Cacciatore was simmering away, those leftover parts were well on their way to becoming a pot of Chicken Noodle Soup. I’m a huge supporter of the movement to reduce the amount of food we waste in this country and this is an example of how with a little bit of effort you can turn one chicken into two great meals and use up the dribbles and drabs hanging out in your refrigerator and pantry. I have been calling this type of dish “Refrigerator ……” but I think I may start referring to them as Dribbles & Drabs as I just looked it up and Dribs & Drabs is considered an emphatic phrase. I’m pretty emphatic that this is a good practice!
It starts with all those bony chicken parts that you have when using a whole chicken for pieces in a recipe. If you don’t have time to deal with them immediately, just throw them into a plastic bag and toss them in the freezer until you do . However while the Cacciatore is simmering you should have plenty of time to throw them into a pot or pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and put them into a hot oven to roast for approximately an hour. I usually turn them over about half way during the roasting to make sure all surfaces are nicely browned.
When they are browned, set them aside until they are cool enough to handle. Pull the meat from the bones. Refrigerate the meat, put the bones back into the pot and cover with cold water.
Simmer for 30 minutes or so and then refrigerate for several hours or overnight to allow the fat to rise and solidify on top. If you need to you can separate the bones from the broth and transfer to a smaller container but I’m not fond of washing more dishes than I need to, so I’m going to refrigerate it as is.
Once the fat is at least semi-solid, skim it from the surface and put it into a small skillet (don’t worry if you take some broth with it). My Jewish friends would call this schmaltz and even though it goes against the “eat less saturated fat principle”, it delivers great flavor to the soup. As long as you don’t over do it on a daily basis, I’m a believer in using the fat I render from the meats I am cooking. Bring the stock with the bones to a simmer while you work on the rest of the mise en place.
For the remaining Dribbles & Drabs in my soup, I’m using some carrots, onion, mushrooms (an addition because I had more than I needed for the cacciatore) , thyme (fresh today but dried is fine), bay leaf, celery seed (all out of fresh celery which I would normally use in chicken noodle soup), the chicken I pulled from the bones, some dried egg noodles (on another day I might make fresh or even throw together some dumplings) and some fresh parsley.
Slice and dice the fresh stuff. Heat the chicken fat.
Add the fresh stuff along with the dry herbs to the melted fat and cook until the carrots are slightly tender and the onion is translucent.
Strain the bones and skin from the simmering stock and discard (at this point you’ve taken as much from this chicken as it has to give).
You should have 6 to 8 cups of stock, if not add some water to make at least 6 cups. Add the cooked vegetable mixture, the fresh thyme and the chicken to the pot with the stock and bring to a boil.
Once the stock comes to a boil add the noodles and cook according to the package directions. In the case of the noodle I’m using today that time is around 15 minutes. The noodles I’m using are Mrs. Millers Old Fashioned Wide Egg Noodles (Extra Fancy Durum Wheat Flour, Fresh Whole Eggs, Water)-Fredericksberg OH. I think they are quite good for a commercial noodle. Be sure to taste for salt as you add the noodles, mine needed a teaspoon or so at this point.
And there you are, a hearty Chicken Dribbles & Drabs Soup
What Do I Do with Those Leftover Chicken Parts Soup (Chicken Noodle Soup)
by: M.B. Einerson
Adapted from Rich Chicken Noodle Soup LA Times 1980’s
Servings: 4 to 6
- Bony chicken parts from a whole chicken (2 or so lb.)
- Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
- Cold water to cover bones and skin after meat has been removed
- Fat skimmed from the top of roasted/simmered chicken parts
- 1 small or ½ of a large onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery with leaves, sliced or ¼ tsp. celery seed
- 1 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional but tasty)
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ tsp. dried thyme or ½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- Meat taken from roasted chicken parts
- 4 to 6 oz. egg noodles
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Minced parsley
Place bony chicken parts in oven safe dish such as a Dutch oven. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400° F for an hour or so, until chicken is nicely browned on all sides. Remove from oven and let it rest at room temperature until the chicken is cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from all of the bones and refrigerate, return the bones and skin to the pot. Cover with cold water and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
Refrigerate the pot overnight or until the fat has risen to the top of the pot and is solid enough to remove.
Skim the fat from the surface and place in medium skillet or saucepan. Bring the stock and chicken bones to a simmer. Remove from heat and strain the stock to remove the bones and skin. Add water to the stock if necessary to make 6 to 8 cups of liquid, return to the pot and set aside.
Heat the skimmed fat, add the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf and sauté until the onion is slightly translucent. Add the mixture to the soup stock along with the thyme. Bring to a boil and add the noodles and reserved chicken meat. Cook at a rolling simmer until the noodles are tender. Depending on the type of noodle, this will take anywhere from 9 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt (you will likely need to add salt, so taste when you begin to cook the noodles so they will be seasoned) and pepper. Remove from heat and sprinkle each serving with minced parsley.