Now that you’ve enjoyed the roast chicken, for goodness sake, don’t throw away the carcass! There’s soup to be made, and this is the perfect weather for enjoying it. Not only will the whole house smell good, but you’ll know every ingredient in the batch.
Go ahead and make a whole bunch of soup at once and freeze into containers for enjoyment later. The higher the quality of the chicken you start with, the better and more golden-brown the broth. Let’s get started with Chef Kara’s tips and recipe.
After roasting a chicken, keep the drippings, skin, and bones with any remaining meat and place everything in a crock pot with water filled to the highest level. For even more flavorful chicken stock, add in a couple bay leaves, peppercorns, onion pieces, garlic cloves, celery pieces, and even carrot pieces. Chef Kara’s standby is to add the bay leaves and peppercorns plus all the seasonings that were on the chicken when it was roasting.
Cook in the crock pot on low for 8 hours. Once cooked, let the stock cool slightly before ladling into a colander to drain the stock into a bowl. Lift out the bones from the colander (and discard) and pick off any meat to add back into the strained stock. If you’re not ready to make soup right away, store the stock in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze for later use.
Chicken Parmesan Soup
Stock and meat from one chicken (see recipe above), about 6 cups
Additional cooked chicken, if and as desired
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½ cup chopped white onion
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1.8 tsp. ground red pepper
4 oz (uncooked) penne or rotini pasta
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, for topping
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
In a soup pot, stir together ingredients chicken stock through ground red pepper. Simmer the soup on medium heat until the vegetables are tender and the soup has reduced slightly, about 40 minutes. Stir in pasta and cook to al dente texture (see your particular pasta package for cooking length).
If the soup is too thick after cooking the pasta, add some additional chicken broth and warm through. Check the soup flavorings and, if needed, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with shredded mozzarella cheese and chopped parsley.
As long as you haven’t overcooked the pasta, it’s great for leftovers. Chef Kara’s pro tip: make the soup up to adding the pasta, package up some of the soup for later, then add in a partial amount of pasta into the remaining soup and cook accordingly. When you are ready to serve the remaining soup, bring to a simmer, add the pasta and cook — soggy noodles no more!
Laura and Kara Berlage are co-owners of Farmstead Creamery & Café, a farm-to-table destination on their family’s historic homestead in the Chequamegon National Forest. www.farmsteadcreamery.com 715-462-3453