Leftover Chicken -> Tonight’s Soup

From last night’s dinner, we had maybe half of a whole chicken left over. I’d baked it, and it was pretty yummy. It was seasoned with salt, pepper, dill, and a little fresh rosemary. To keep it from being lonely in its pot, I added a few quartered mushrooms and maybe a pound of baby carrots and baked the whole thing up. Unfortunately, the chicken overshot fashionably late and didn’t make its appearance until the end of dinner, which bumped it from its top billing of main entree down to samples. People picked at it a bit just to see if it tasted good. It did. They were simply too full!

While casting about this afternoon (during the snapping of I’m not sure how many beans) for dinner ideas tonight, we had a brainstorm. Last night’s chicken would become tonight’s soup! We mapped out a rough plan, and, let me tell ya’, it made for a very tasty dinner.

Last Night’s Chicken Transformed

  • approx 1/2 baked chicken
  • 1 lb. baked carrots
  • mushrooms
  • fresh tomatoes
  • fresh zucchini
  • a sweet Italian chicken sausage
  • cheese ravioli
  • parsley
  • basil
  • celery seed
  • salt

I boned out the chicken, saving all the jellied stock and setting the meat aside, and tossed the bones into a stock pot. Those were covered with water and set to simmering with parsley, salt, minute amount of celery seed, and basil in order to create more chicken stock. The baked carrots and mushrooms, along with the jellied stock, I threw into a blender. After they were pureed (and turned a yucky orange – not an appetizing look at all), I tasted it and decided it needed more flavor. Mom had a ridiculous amount of sliced tomatoes (also left overs from a party where sandwiches were served), so I pureed maybe 3 or 4 tomatoes worth of slices and added that to my orange mix. It really didn’t look at all pretty, but it smelled fantastic.

It apparently tasted good, too. Kimberly happened by and thought I was making a milkshake. Since she didn’t believe me that it wasn’t milkshake, I pulled out a spoonful and gave her a taste. Her response? “Yum! Milkshake!” She’s a silly bean.

The puree and chicken chunks went into the fridge, the bones kept boiling, and we snapped more beans. Oh, yay…

At dinner time, Mom pulled the bones out of the stock. She added the puree mixture, the chicken, and the chopped up chicken sausage to the simmering liquid. Then she started cooking up tiny slices of zucchini. I took over the zucchini and the soup so Mom could get back to her bean canning. We’d decided against adding the zucchini directly to the soup. Zucchini goes mushy over the least provocation (don’t ever show a zucchini a tear-jerker show!), and we didn’t want it to blend in the way the other veggies did. Instead, we pan fried it in a bit of olive oil. Once it was cooked, I put it into the bottom of the bowl and poured the soup over it. While the zucchini was frying (in small batches, because all the big burners were taken by things like soup pots and pressure canners), I dropped handfuls of frozen cheese ravioli into the soup. When the ravioli started to float, I ladled the soup into bowls over the zucchini. We sprinkled a little Parmesan cheese on top for the fun of it and served Stephanie’s homemade and delicious cornbread on the side.

This made maybe five quarts of soup. I think it was an eight quart pan, and it was a little more than halfway full.

I have to say, I probably ate too much. It was delicious. Not that I’ll ever make this soup exactly this way again, but we did have fun at dinner critiquing it. Smaller ravioli probably would have been better, and if you like tortellini, those would also be good. I think spinach ravioli would work out well, assuming they weren’t stuffed with garlic. Garlic can be great, but the flavor of the soup was fairly subtle, and garlic can be such a prima donna. It likes the spotlight and could easily overpower the more gentle chorus of the other flavors. I could have probably doubled the sausage, given the amount of soup made. I had perhaps three nibbles in my full bowl. What I would definitely do is add more tomato. The trick would be to add enough to give the tomato more of a voice without letting it swamp the chicken stock, because the chicken stock was delightful. I would just like to support it a little better with the tomato.

You know what the best part about this fantastic soup is? It’s all about the leftovers. Leftover chicken, leftover carrots, leftover tomatoes, leftover… I love that we took these disparate ingredients and turned them into a delicious (and fairly easy, really) dinner.

Happy eating to you, whenever you next get there!

Dinner is served!

~ by Bekah on August 19, 2011.

2 Responses to “Leftover Chicken -> Tonight’s Soup”

  1. […] I’ve got another post I’m working on, but this week has been much busier than I expected. Turns out there are finally veggies to harvest. Broccoli, blueberries, blackberries, and beans (what’s with all the B’s?) have all made their appearance this week. I haven’t necessarily been up to my eyeballs in them myself, but Mom and Rach have, so I’ve played a lot of backup. On my family’s blog, I wrote a fun post about dinner tonight. It’s kind of  a sample of what I’ve been doing this week, so if you like, check it out! […]

  2. It was so YUM!!!! 🙂

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