Soups are my new fascination. Taking pittens and scraps of food and turning them into something warm and brothy makes my feel smart and resourceful not to mention it taps into my creativity in the kitchen. In the case of this roasted chicken, my goal was to use up every last scrap of edible remains. The last step in using up your roasted chicken is of course to boil it in a pot covered with water and possibly some root veggies and turn it into a broth....destined for whatever soup or stew combination you can think of.
I usually pull all the meat off the bones of my chicken the same night I roast it. I set all the meat aside in plastic containers (rationed out for all the different chicken dishes I want to use it in) and create the broth the same night. Since I had the day off when I roasted my chicken and I was working all day the next day, I made my broth as well as got a head start on the soup. You can do all the steps up until adding the noodles and spinach, remove from the heat, cool down and put it in the fridge right in the pot you cooked it in if you have the room. The next night all you have to do is pull it out, heat it back up on the stove, add the noodles and spinach and dinner is hot and on the table in 5 minutes. How's that for convenience food?
Recipe inspired by Dinner with Julie.
1 leftover chicken carcass (optional)
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 celery stalk, diced
1-2 tsp mild curry paste
4 cups homemade chicken broth (or a box of store bought chicken or vegetable stock)
1 cup water
1 cup leftover chicken, shredded (leave out if making vegetarian)
Half 19oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (add the whole can if vegetarian)
2 small bundles of thin Chinese noodles
2 big handfuls of fresh spinach
To make the chicken broth:
Using whatever leftover roasted chicken you have (this can even be one of those rotisserie ones you pick up at the deli), strip off any meat still left on the bones and set aside. Place the entire chicken carcass in a big pot and cover with cold water by at least 1 inch. Turn the heat up to high until it boils, then turn down to low and let simmer for 1-2 hours. This is all you need to do to get your own chicken broth, but you can add some extra's to give it more flavor. Roughly chop a carrot or two as well as some celery, quarter an onion, and toss it all in the pot as well. You can also add about 10 whole peppercorns if you have them. While it's simmering just skim off any foam or scum that rises to the top. When done simmering, strain out the bones and any veggies. Save 4 cups of broth to use in the soup, anything extra you can pour into clean yogurt containers and freeze.
To make the soup:
In a large pot over medium heat, add a bit of oil. Add your fresh ginger, garlic and celery and saute 3-4 minutes until the celery has softened a bit. Add the curry paste and fry for a minute. Pour in the chicken broth and water and stir to combine, then add the shredded chicken (if using) and chickpeas. Bring soup up to a boil then turn heat down and simmer 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Remember that your homemade broth has no salt added yet, whereas store bought will, so season adequately. Turn heat back up to med-high to get it to boil then add the thin Chinese egg noodles. Let cook about 3 minutes until the noodles are tender then remove pot from the heat. Stir in the spinach and serve.
Click here for printable version of Curried Chicken Noodle Soup with Spinach and Chickpeas
I hate chicken noodle soup. I avoid it at all costs. It's bland and boring and I could think of a million other things to do with my chicken rather than turn it into chicken noodle soup. But CURRIED chicken noodle soup? I'd lick my bowl clean and go back for fourth helpings. The flavors are exciting and unexpected for a soup of this genre and there will be many more pots of this soup made in this house. I loved the thin Chinese egg noodles in this, but you could substitute a thin spaghetti (spaghettini) or even a regular egg noodle. Do try the thin Chinese egg noodles if you can though; they can be found in the International food aisle in a bag. The noodles are rolled into handful sized nests and I used two of them in this dish. Lovely, lovely soup. I'm not sure I can wait for another roasted chicken to make it again though. I may just have to bust out a store bought container of chicken stock and a chicken breast poached in the liquid then shredded to get my fix.
For more inexpensive meal ideas check out the $5 Dinner Challenge.