Ever since Costco started selling huge rotisserie chickens weighing in at 3-5 pounds each, I’ve been buying one a week just to have ready-to-eat food in the fridge.
I’ll admit, we didn’t always get around to peeling off all the meat from the bones once we’ve gouged out the breast and thigh meat. Even with the best of intentions, the half-eaten carcass sometimes ended up in the trash. That always bothered me. That is, until I started throwing the carcass, skin, and gelatinous juice in the bottom of the container, into a storage bag, and putting all of it in the freezer to use at another time. My husband likes to take a meat mallet to this collection of meat, skin, and bones and flatten it out for better storage.
The magic number of carcasses I can tolerate in the freezer is four and then it’s time to make room for other foods. And, four is as many as will fit in the 20-quart pot I use for making soup and tomato sauce.
One day last week, I posted a series of photos on Instagram as I prepared a pot of chicken broth using rotisserie chicken bones. A lot of people wanted to know how I made it.
A Day in the Life of a Pot of Rotisserie Chicken Bone Soup.
Timestamp: 6:27 a.m.
Put four chicken carcasses, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, pepper, vinegar, and bay leaves in a 20-quart heavy-bottomed soup pot. Do not add salt. Fill pot with cold water just until ingredients are covered. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat, lower heat, and allow to simmer for five hours. The complete instructions are in this blog post:
Timestamp: 11:38 a.m.
At lunch time, I turned the heat off and covered the pot and let it cool on the stovetop for a few hours.
Timestamp: 4:00 p.m.
I strained the soup through a large colander; solids go in the trash because the meat is tasteless at this point, plus there are lots of tiny bones in the solids. I did pull out the tender carrots to nibble on. I was one cup short of eight quarts of broth, so I dribbled a cup of hot water over the solids to round out the number. Next, I took the pot of broth and ran it through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of the smallest bones.
Timestamp: 6:49 p.m.
I poured 8-cups (two quarts) of broth into each of two containers that went into the freezer. The base of future meals!
I used the other four quarts to make soup for our dinner and as “sick soup” for a friend. There’s a recipe in this post: Winter Cold Therapy: Sick Soup (or, Snowy Day Stew), Knitting and Coloring.
In last week’s version of this soup recipe, I used freshly picked collards and parsley from the garden, and potatoes, carrots, Italian stewed tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes (they give a little heat to the soup), leftover corn, and veal sausage from the depths of my freezer. I will use collards in my soup again; their texture, taste, and color hold up beautifully in soup. Don’t add the collards until the last few minutes of cooking.
Timestamp: 6:27 a.m. (today, two weeks later)
Took broth out of the freezer to make Lisa’s Award Winning Buffalo Chicken Chili, for dinner tonight. This is one of the most popular recipes on the blog.
I’ll need to buy another rotisserie chicken for the meat portion of this recipe. The rotisserie chicken carcass salvage cycle begins again.
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Follow my photos of vegetables growing, backyard chickens hanging out, and dinner preparations on Instagram at JudysChickens.
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© 2014-2017 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.