Kill Two Soups With One Bird

Aaahhh…Autumn is finally here. I love when the cooler weather arrives. I could eat soup every night. Creamy soups are among my favorite. Soups are easy enough to make to serve a cup as a course before dinner or hearty enough to serve a bowl as the main dish. Add some crusty bread or your favorite crackers with cheese and you’ve got comfort food for the cold days that will be arriving soon.

I’m very frugal and don’t like to waste food when I don’t have to. One of my favorite cheats, when I don’t feel like cooking, is to buy a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. We’ll have it for dinner with potato or macaroni salad and some sliced tomatoes or cucumbers; then I can usually carve off enough chicken to make chicken salad for lunch, too. That’s two super easy meals for busy days.

Next, not wanting to waste perfectly good bones, I’ll make a pot of chicken stock. There will be enough stock for a large batch of one kind of soup or two smaller batches. I prefer to make two kinds to have a variety throughout the week.

Mirepoix

A base for a good soup starts with mirepoix (pronounced meer-pwa). Mirepoix is basically a combination of aromatics, such as onions, celery, and carrots. It can be made by sautéing the vegetables in butter or olive oil or can be added raw to the other ingredients for your stock.

Frugal tip: Instead of composting or throwing away the ends of celery, onions, leeks, carrots, peppers or virtually any of your vegetables, try storing them in a bag in the freezer. Then you can just add them to your other ingredients when making stock.

Today I’m making two soups from one bird. First will be a basic chicken noodle soup. This soup turns out differently each time I make it due to the various vegetables and seasonings used in the stock. This recipe is just here as a guide. You can add whatever kind of vegetables you have and use your favorite seasonings or pasta shapes.

Flavor tip: Even after simmering your stock for hours, sometimes it may not be as flavorful as you would like. If your stock doesn’t seem to have much flavor, add a teaspoon of chicken bouillon. Add a little at a time until you get the flavor you want.

The second soup is a Sausage and Potato Soup. I originally wanted to make a creamy potato and leek soup. Traditionally, that type of soup is usually pureed. But, I was in the mood for a heartier soup with lots of chunks. Of course, I didn’t have to puree the soup, there are no rules that say it has to be pureed. After making the potato and leek soup, I thought it looked and tasted a little boring, so I decided to add some sausage, chicken and kale. Now we’re talking. This soup has all the chunks and pizzazz I was looking for.

Chicken Noodle Soup

A basic starter recipe for beginners. This easy soup recipe can be modified to make a variety of other soups.

Course Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, mirepoix, soup
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6 bowls
Author Lisa York

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken carcass
  • 1 cups onion diced
  • 1/2 cup celery diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup Stelline pasta or other small shaped pasta
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • water to cover all ingredients in pot

Instructions

  1. In a 5 quart pot, place the chicken carcass, onion, celery, carrots, and seasonings (see recipe note #1). Fill the pot about 2 inches from the top with water.

  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours. Periodically, check to make sure your liquid isn't boiling away.

  3. Strain the stock and set aside the chicken carcass to cool. (See Note # 2)

  4. Reserve 6 cups of stock for the Creamy Potato and Sausage Soup.

  5. Clean the chicken from the bones, chop to bite-sized pieces (reserve 1 cup for the Creamy Potato and Sausage Soup) and set aside. Discard the bones.

  6. Bring the remaining stock to a boil, add the pasta and frozen vegetables. Return to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer until pasta and vegetables are tender. Add the chicken.

Recipe Notes

Note #1 – Frugal tip: Instead of composting or throwing away the ends of celery, onions, leeks, carrots, peppers or virtually any of your vegetables, try storing them in a bag in the freezer. Then you can just add them to your other ingredients when making stock and save your fresh ingredients to add to the soup. 

Note #2 – Flavor tip: Even after simmering your stock for hours, sometimes it may not be as flavorful as you would like. If your stock doesn’t seem to have much flavor, add a teaspoon of chicken bouillon. Add a little at a time until you get the flavor you want.

 

Creamy Potato and Sausage Soup

This hearty soup is full of potatoes, leek, sausage, chicken and kale.

Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, kale, leek, potatoes, sausage, soup
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 bowls
Author Lisa York

Ingredients

  • 6 cups stock reserved from Chicken Noodle Recipe
  • 3 cups milk
  • 5 medium potatoes peeled and diced
  • 2 cups leek cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 5 sausage links (I used mild, but any variety will work)
  • 12 tbsp butter divided
  • 3 – 4 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups kale (optional) remove stems from leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup chicken reserved from Chicken Noodle Recipe

Instructions

  1. Peel and dice the potatoes into bite-sized pieces.

  2. Set potatoes aside.

  3. Dice the onion and set aside with the potatoes.

  4. Prepare the sausage for removal of the casings by slicing each link lengthwise.

  5. Pull the casing off of the sausage. Set the sausage aside.

  6. If using kale, remove the tough stems and just use the leaves then chop into smaller pieces. (You can use the stems, but they would need to cook much longer to be edible.)

  7. Clean the leek. Remove and discard the long leaves and root (or freeze for future stock). Slice the remaining leek into long, thin strips or rings. Rinse thoroughly to remove any residual dirt. Dry on a clean towel or paper towels and pat dry. Set aside.

  8. Prepare a skillet over medium high heat to melt 4 tbsp butter with 2 tbsp olive oil.

  9. Add the potatoes to the skillet then stir until thoroughly coated.

  10. Add the onions, salt and pepper to the potatoes Stir and reduce heat to medium low.

  11. Stir the potatoes occasionally until they are browned and tender.

  12. In another skillet, over medium heat, add 2 tbsp of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Add the leek and garlic then saute until the leek is tender. (5-10 minutes) Then set aside.

  13. Over medium high heat, crumble the sausage into bite-sized pieces.

  14. Stirring frequently, cook the sausage until thoroughly cooked through then drain and set aside.

  15. If using kale, reserve a couple teaspoons of the sausage fat and olive oil to saute the kale. This adds a little extra flavor to the kale. Saute kale until tender.

  16. In a 5 quart pot, make a roux by melting 4 tbsp butter and constantly whisking in a little flour at a time until you've added all of the 1/2 cup. Roux will be very thick.

  17. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Gradually add the stock. Continue to whisk constantly.

  18. Finally, add the cooked potatoes, sausage, leek, kale, and chicken. Simmer until all ingredients are warm and broth has thickened.

Broth vs. Stock

Broth and stock can be used in place of each other in most recipes. Broth doesn’t need to cook as long as stock. Broth is a liquid made from meat and/or vegetables simmered for a short period of time.

Stock, however, is made using bones. In order to extract the gelatin from the bones, it will need to simmer for a longer period of time. You should simmer for at least three hours, but the longer the better.

As mentioned above, mirepoix will give your stock or broth a boost of flavor. But, adding seasonings will help as well. Try experimenting with fennel, garlic, and parsley, too.

What is your favorite soup? Tell me in the comments below.

Cream of Broccoli and Potato Soup

Welcome to my very first blog post and Happy first day of Spring 2018, the vernal or Spring equinox. The one day of the year when we have equal lengths of night and day. The day we should be able to look forward to the warm weather and put away the snow shovels, but with another storm on the horizon, I guess I’ll wait to put them away and just make some soup instead.

Living in Maine, I’m used to the winter and the massive amounts of snow we get, but we’ve been beaten up by Mother Nature these past few weeks, so I was looking forward to the first day of Spring. Much to my dismay, it was 16 degrees when I woke up this morning. This is not the way I wanted to start Spring. Not to mention that my mailbox was still half-buried from the last snowstorm and was in desperate need of digging out. So, by the time I was done with the outside chores, I was ready for a warm bowl of soup.

I love this recipe. There are many different variations that all work with the same basic recipe. I used to make plain Cream of Broccoli Soup, then one day I had leftover home-fried potatoes from breakfast. I knew it wouldn’t be enough for another meal and I don’t like to waste food, so I saved it and put in my bowl of cream of broccoli soup for dinner. Now, this is one of my favorites.

It’s so versatile. You can substitute the broccoli with cauliflower, asparagus, corn, or even mushrooms, if you like. If you don’t have time to home-fry the potatoes, you can leave them out. As an added treat, I like to add cheddar cheese and bacon crumbles.

What kind of soups do you like on a cold day? If you try this recipe, I’d love to know what you think in the comments below.

 

 

Cream of Broccoli and Potato Soup
5 from 1 vote
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Cream of Broccoli and Potato Soup

Easy to make cream of broccoli and potato soup. Top with bacon crumbles and cheese for a heartier soup. For a quicker soup, leave out the potatoes. You'll still have a hearty, satisfying soup. Cook up a few extra potatoes while you're at it and set aside to have with eggs and bacon for breakfast the next morning.
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 bowls
Author Lisa

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 tbsp butter divided
  • 6 medium potatoes cubed
  • 6 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1/2 cup celery approx 2 stalks diced
  • 1 pound frozen or fresh broccoli chopped to bite size pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups milk divided
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cheddar cheese optional
  • bacon crumbles optional

Instructions

  1. In a large pan, heat olive oil and 2 tbsp. butter over medium/high heat until butter has melted. Add cubed potatoes and stir until the potatoes are well coated. Add salt and pepper if desired. Heat uncovered for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are browned. Cover and continue cooking over heat reduced to medium/low, stirring occasionally for approximately 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
    Ingredients for Cream of Broccoli and Potato Soup
  2. While the potatoes finish cooking, in a separate medium pot (about 5 quarts), add chicken stock, broccoli, onions and celery. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are done to a desired tenderness. Add 2 cups of milk and the remaining 6 tbsps. of butter. Continue simmering until the butter has melted.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk and the flour. Whisk thoroughly to remove any lumps. Gradually add this mixture to the soup, whisking constantly. Cook for at least 5 minutes so you thoroughly eliminate the raw flour taste. Soup will thicken as it cools.