What Chicken Soup Can Teach

I learned two things today when making a chicken-leek-potato soup:

(1) Costco’s roasted chicken drums, chopped, make for excellent dark stock. Totally gelled.

(2) If your potato dice is erratic, a potholder next to the pot makes a pretty good cutting board (and soaks up drips from the ecumoire).

What’s chicken soup taught you?

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That I should make it more often, and not just when one of us is down wit da flu.


show-off :joy:

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Chicken soup has taught me that a whole chicken is the gift that keeps on giving. Chicken soup is the cherry on the cake.


Many chickens in every pot.


How to temper avgolemono soup without curdling the egg.


It has taught me how to use a whole chicken. 99% of the time I buy a whole bird and break it down to its various components. It’s much more economical than precut bits, the quality of the chicken parts is better, and it forces me to think of how to use it deliciously and efficiently. After the cost of using the other parts, the soup is basically free.


I’ll have to think about this. In terms of eating the chicken itself, you may be right. But whoa, Nellie, when it comes to stock, one whole chicken doesn’t get me far. I either have to fortify or cook down to the point there’s very little left.

The Costco drum tray method comes close for me without much waste or loss–the dogs get the meat and aromatics, and I get all the nectar.

A well fortified broth can keep an individual who is about to have a colonoscopy from feeling hungry on broth and clear liquids day.


Totally. No indictment of fortification.

I need to find a dependable source of 10-pound boxes of necks, backs and feet. My cleaver would love it, but my oven and DW would gripe. Costco’s drums solve a lot of that.

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With drums, I let them cook until the meat is just done, take the meat off the bone, return the skin and bones to the pot, and continue. Stock still gels beautifully, and the meat is still fit for human consumption.

(I used to use TJs drumsticks pack for this, until I realized the “family pack” of a bone-in breast plus drumsticks is a heck of a lot cheaper than any other kind of chicken around me in terms of quantity of meat per lb — and definitely cheaper than a whole chicken, never mind breasts or thighs.)

In terms of learning (aside from saving the meat for my use), I want to get the black chicken available at Chinese markets, but have not done enough research yet to know how to treat them. (I have, however, been saving the skin and bones from white-cut chicken and duck i buy there to fortify future soups/stocks.)

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Ask your local butcher to sell you a bag of necks, wings and feet.

(My local butcher will sell me a bag of those chicken parts for $1/lb just so that the cashier can actually ring it up.)

Those are the building blocks of good chicken soup.


Chicken soup has taught me that it can be analyzed in a process similar to wine-tasting.

I have a SIL who makes me chicken soup, and who takes great delight in the feedback I give her. She tells me that it’s never the same recipe as it depends upon what she has on hand, hence it’s not repeatable. I enjoy doing the analysis on taste, texture, oiliness , etc. Only once have I pronounced it close to perfect


I usually make stock from bones leftover from a Costco rotisserie chicken plus random chicken bones from when I make chicken thigh anything and a few frozen chicken feet. The latter really help with the gel factor and when my dogs were alive, they loved the chopped up feet.

What I’ve learned: Always have this on hand, no excuses. Great as the liquid component for savory breakfast oatmeal.


I totally get it! We’ve gotten lucky that around here a couple butcher shops have delivery, so it is easier for me to get feet and extra bones. How many pounds of drums did you use (for my future reference)?

I’m not sure of the weight, but the tray held 12-14 drums. I’ll pay closer attention next time (and not scarf down the first drumstick).

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I make stock at least once a week in small batches. Unless I make roast chicken, I don’t bother roasting the bones. I do, however crack the bones to get maximum goodness out of them. Nicely jelled stock and good flavour. Chicken stock is a freezer staple that we often use.


I need to get better at using it. I have dozens of containers of turkey and chicken stock which often end up being tossed 2 years later, when I defrost the freezer.

This last few months, I make small batches, keep them in the fridge, and use them within 3 days.


I get chicken backs for about a dollar a pound here. One back will make about a quart of stock. I buy the backs in batches of eight, so I can always have stock in the freezer, roast them at 450 until golden brown, then simmer for 3-4 hours.

ETA: I also keep whatever bones I have, lamb chops, BBQ ribs, etc in a ziploc in the freezer, and simmer them along with the chicken backs.


I cook a lot of soups and one of the juniors enjoys rice cooked in chicken broth, so it gets used almost as fast as I can make it.