Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Making Cream of Chicken Soup with homemade stock

In this house, we are pretty chook mad!  Have you ever watched a chook scratching around in an orchard?  They make gentle little cooing noises as they go about their business of scratching and pecking.  Watching chooks seems to be instantly calming.

They provide us with eggs (supposedly!), chook manure around the orchard, turn my garden scraps into manure without me having to lift a finger and provide us with meat (but we not eating ours at the moment).  What's not to love about these guys!  I intend to write a post shortly about our chooks and our plans surrounding them.
Today I want to talk about making stock and cream of chicken soup.  We recently bought some real free range chicken meat.  The flavour is much more intense and chickeny than the free range I had been buying from the supermarket.

As part of my order, I bought a couple of carcasses.  They still have enough meat on them for a nice soup.  First I made my stock.

Chicken Stock
Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Brown the chicken well.  A few golden crispy bits really add to the flavour of the stock.  Remove from the pot.
Roughly chop an onion.  You don't even need to peel it first.  Chop up a couple of carrots.  I would have added celery but I didn't have any.
Saute the veggies in the pot, turn the heat up a bit and add about 1/2 cup cold water.  Because of the higher heat, it will sizzle and steam.   Stir it well, making sure to mix in any crispy bits of chook stuck to the bottom of the pot. 
Add another couple of cups of water, pop the chook back in and top up with enough water to cover the chook.
Throw in some herbs.  I think I used a couple of bay leaves and some thyme. 
Bring to the boil, reduce to a very low simmer and simmer for a good couple of hours.  Mine cooked on our wood heater for about four hours.
Strain.  Easy, isn't it?!  The great thing about making stock is that you can just use what you have on hand.  Onions, garlic, root vegetables...  The same with the herbs.  Use what you have in the garden.
Then at the end of the day, with my steaming stock beside me, I made up some cream of chicken soup.
Cream of Chicken Soup
90g butter
1/3 cup plain flour
three carrots, peeled and chopped
5 good sized leaves kale, finely chopped
3 litres chicken stock
1/3 cup cream
bits of cooked chicken leftover from stock-making
Melt butter in a large pot then remove from the heat and stir in flour.  Pop the saucepan back over a low heat and very gradually add some stock.  At first it will make a thick paste and you need to keep adding gradually and stirring well to prevent lumps forming.  Once you have gradually added enough stock to thin the paste, you can add the rest of the stock at a faster pace.  When I had added the first two litres of stock, I mixed the cream in with the remaining litre before I added it to the pot.
I peeled and chopped five or six little carrots from the garden, probably the equivalent of three store bought carrots.  I sautéed these in a little oil in a frying pan.  Add these to the soup with the kale and chicken meat.  Simmer gently until carrot is tender.  About three quarters of an hour.  If you have fresh basil, it would make a lovely addition to the soup.
I added a fair bit of salt because although the flavours are wonderful, it tastes bland if you are used to commercial powdered chicken stock which is very salty (and sadly we are so we are gradually weaning ourselves).
I served this meal with freshly baked sourdough and we followed up with a lemon delicious pudding for dessert.  Yummmmy!
The soup cost next to nothing.  The carcass cost $1.50, I had carrot, kale and herbs in the garden so the only other costs were the onion, 1/3 cup cream, 1/3 cup flour, butter and the salt.
I would love to hear back from you if you do try this soup.  I'd love to know what you think.
What soups are you enjoying this Autumn?  Do you make soup without a recipe book? 


Nathalie Willmott said...

I love making my own stock! My favourite soups are pea and ham made with real ham bones found in the deli (the ones from wollies are better and cheaper than coles) thai hot sweet and sour soup, good old veggie soup, leek and chickpea soup, maltese veggie soup minestra, leek and potato I think thats about it

Ailsa said...

I love your chookies, looking forward to hearing more about them!

Lynda D said...

Great Recipe. I love chooks too. Such characters.

Tracey said...

That sounds lovely! I'm living soup this season because it is the first year my kids will eat it - woohoo! We're enjoying pea and ham (ham stock from Christmas ham), pumpkin, chicken and veg and minestrone. I think I'll try yours soon.

Jeanette said...

Yum sounds delicious. Must give it a try.

Busy mum of 3 said...

I just made a pea and ham soup, using the recipie on the back of the packet of McKenzie's dried peas (but I didn't use a chicken stock cube as recommended, I just added salt, pepper, bay leaves and a few herbs from the garden) it was delicious, and the kids ate 2 bowlfuls each!

Linda said...

Nathalie I like the sound of your Thai soup. Our soups are pretty kid friendly and I miss grown up food!

Ailsa, my chook post is firmly in my head. Just need to sit and write it!

Hi Lynda, yep chooks are great. I wouldn't be without them now!

Tracey, Gee! I didn't think any kids didn't like soup. Thank goodness they come around. Been meaning to say I can picture where you live because we attended a wedding there once. Lovely spot to raise kids!

Jeanette, Welcome! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Busy Mum, It's great when we can play around with recipes and they still taste great!