Need some help making chicken soup without bouillon - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I grew learning to make chicken soup with lots of bouillon cubes. I know I shouldn't, so I've been experimenting with "alternative" options (i.e., Better than Bouillon). But I just recently discovered that almost all forms of that stuff contain MSG (yeah, I know, duh!), so now I'm at a loss. How does one make a rich chicken soup without bouillon?

TIA!

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#2 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 03:22 PM
 
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Make stock from chicken bones?
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#3 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 03:25 PM
 
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subbing. Me too.
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#4 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 03:28 PM
 
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Ok I will elaborate. If you don't have leftover chicken bones/carcasses you can buy a couple pounds of necks and backs from the grocery for really cheap! Cover with water and simmer several hours, strain and there is your soup base.

I always make broth after eating a roast chicken, I just use the carcass
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#5 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 03:33 PM
 
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http://www.elise.com/recipes/archive...cken_stock.php

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#6 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 03:40 PM
 
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Do you add anything else to your pot when making the broth? Veggies, spices? Is it flavourful enough on its own?
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#7 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 03:55 PM
 
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I make my chicken stock with the bones from a roast chicken, some carrots, celery, onion, and whatever else I have on hand in terms of veggies. I add a bay leaf or two and usually a hot pepper.

I make chicken noodle soup by sauteeing diced carrots, celery, and onions in a bit of olive oil, then deglazing with the stock and adding noodles and bits of chicken. When the noodles are ready, the soup's ready.


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#8 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 04:45 PM
 
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I usually take and saute some onions, celery, and carrots in oil (canola) or oil and butter... then I'll add in whatever chicken I find on sale or a left-over rotisserie chicken carcass. Add water to cover the chicken... and then let it simmer for an hour or so. Then I'll remove the chicken and take it off the bone. To the broth/veggie mixture, I'll add my noodles and let them cook... then a bit of poultry seasoning and salt and pepper. I'll re-add back the chicken then.



You can make really quick chicken broth in a pressure cooker, BTW.

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#9 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 04:51 PM
 
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I made chicken soup for the first time about a week ago, and there seemed to be so many different ways of making the soup... I got my mother's method. She basically cooks the chicken whole first and takes it out, making a light chicken stock. Then while it's cooling she cooks the veggies (carrots, whole peeled garlic cloves, onions, celery, other roots such as rutabaga, potato, etc) making a light veggie stock with the same water. The soup is delicately flavorful this way; if you used stock instead of water originally, then it would be more strongly flavorful--which is nice but not necessary if you don't have the time or inclination. Then of course she tears up the chicken and puts it back in and cooks it all for a few minutes to marry the flavors.
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#10 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 04:52 PM
 
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http://www.seedsofhealth.co.uk/artic...of_stock.shtml
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#11 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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mine is a boiling chicken cut up, the gizzard, onion, carrot, celery, parsley root if i can get it, celery root (celeriac). Cover with water, bring to a simmer, skim, add a bit of salt and some flat leaf parsley. If I'm making it to serve as a plain soup I also add dill. I usually add the herbs after it's cooked an hour or so, then let it cook another couple of hours.

Backs and wings make a pretty good stock if you can't get a whole boiling chicken (which pushes the cost up). If I were only making stock to use in further cooking I would do that but for a really strong soup base I would want the whole chicken.

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#12 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, so maybe we're just addicted to salt then? When I make chicken soup, I generally add a whole (or half, after we've roasted and eaten it) chicken, carrots, celery, potatoes, bay leaves, and some other spices. It's just never very flavorful when I'm finished, so I usually end up throwing in a few bouillon cubes too. What am I missing? Am I using too much water or something? Do I just need more salt and herbs/spices?

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#13 of 30 Old 09-28-2007, 07:05 PM
 
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I always add a healthy amount of sea salt to mine. Just use salt, not boullion.

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#14 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 01:30 AM
 
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Are you not boiling the chicken in the soup water?

Maybe you aren't adding enough salt. You should just add salt to taste, meaning until your tongue is satisfied with the amount of salt in it.

Are you adding onions?
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#15 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 01:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Are you not boiling the chicken in the soup water?

Maybe you aren't adding enough salt. You should just add salt to taste, meaning until your tongue is satisfied with the amount of salt in it.

Are you adding onions?
I do boil the chicken in the water until the meat falls off. It MUST be the salt, then! No, no onions though. Should I? Saute first, or add in to boil?

Thank you everyone, for the help. The weather's cooling off and the kids love chicken soup. However, I don't love feeding them MSG :

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#16 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 02:13 AM
 
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Oh definitely add onions, they add sweetness to the broth. Add some whole peeled garlic cloves too--cooked for a long time, they become sweet and mushy. It's probably the salt. Try adding enough salt to taste, and unless it tastes like salty water, problem solved
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#17 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 03:18 AM
 
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I throw in a chicken, onion, garlic and seasoning salt. Yummy every time.

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#18 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 03:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, awesome, I'll do that then! Thank you :

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#19 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 03:55 AM
 
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Melissel, you should try making actual chicken stock. It will make all the difference, I promise you.

After you cook a whole chicken and serve it, pick most of the easy-to-get-at meat off the bones. Then put the chicken in a pot and put water over it to cover (3-4 quarts). Add a quartered onion, a carrot and a stalk of celery in chinks, a few smashed garlic cloves, a couple of bay leaves, and a few peppercorns. Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let simmer for at least 5 hours. I simmer mine for about 15 hours, adding extra water if necessary. Making it in the crock pot is also easy and safe.

After it is done cooking cook slightly and strain the broth into a container. Refrigerate, and when the fat has solidified on top skim it off. Your broth may be solid: that is the natural gelatin from the bones. It will liquefy when warmed and be brothy again.

I freeze mine in wide mouth pint jars and thaw when I need broth for soup or other recipes. When making a soup add salt to taste, as this broth is unsalted.
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#20 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 04:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post
Melissel, you should try making actual chicken stock. It will make all the difference, I promise you.

After you cook a whole chicken and serve it, pick most of the easy-to-get-at meat off the bones. Then put the chicken in a pot and put water over it to cover (3-4 quarts). Add a quartered onion, a carrot and a stalk of celery in chinks, a few smashed garlic cloves, a couple of bay leaves, and a few peppercorns. Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let simmer for at least 5 hours. I simmer mine for about 15 hours, adding extra water if necessary. Making it in the crock pot is also easy and safe.

After it is done cooking cook slightly and strain the broth into a container. Refrigerate, and when the fat has solidified on top skim it off. Your broth may be solid: that is the natural gelatin from the bones. It will liquefy when warmed and be brothy again.

I freeze mine in wide mouth pint jars and thaw when I need broth for soup or other recipes. When making a soup add salt to taste, as this broth is unsalted.
OK, I did exactly that yesterday with a carcass that I had, but I didn't boil it for that long--we had to leave the house so I only got two hours out of it. It's in the fridge now. Should I fire it up again in the morning?

Also, so I'm sort of "double chickening" the liquid? Using the chicken stock (from the carcass) as the base liquid for boiling up another (whole) chicken to make soup? Am I getting this right? Because if so, I'm really glad I boiled that carcass yesterday--DH wanted me to just toss it!

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#21 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 04:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! What perfect how-to pieces!

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#22 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 04:32 AM
 
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You can make your chicken stock yourself, or buy kitchen basics brand in a box, it's pure, unadulterated stock. Or, if you get better than bouillon's organic chicken base, it doesn't have MSG. I believe the yeast extract in the regular chicken base is where the MSG is hidden IIRC, but I sent them an email to confirm as I am converting a recipe and having the same problem.

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#23 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 04:55 AM
 
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What technique do you use to skim the fat off your stocks?
I chill and then skim.
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#24 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 04:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You can make your chicken stock yourself, or buy kitchen basics brand in a box, it's pure, unadulterated stock. Or, if you get better than bouillon's organic chicken base, it doesn't have MSG. I believe the yeast extract in the regular chicken base is where the MSG is hidden IIRC, but I sent them an email to confirm as I am converting a recipe and having the same problem.
Thanks! You're right about the autolyzed yeast extract : I've never heard of Kitchen Basics. I'll have to look for it. I've been buying a couple of the organic brands (boxed broth), and I just hit on a good deal at Costco, but still, it's pricier than using the chicken we already cooked, you know? I'll probably end up using both at different points in time.

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#25 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 03:00 PM
 
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Thanks! You're right about the autolyzed yeast extract : I've never heard of Kitchen Basics. I'll have to look for it. I've been buying a couple of the organic brands (boxed broth), and I just hit on a good deal at Costco, but still, it's pricier than using the chicken we already cooked, you know? I'll probably end up using both at different points in time.
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#26 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 06:35 PM
 
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Hmmm...we never used chicken broth with another chicken to make double chicken soup, though I am sure it would be fine. Like the other posters, I just use a carcass water, a large quartered onion, a whole celery stalk and sometimes some chuncked carrots. I also through in a bay leaf. Then, boil the heck out of it for a few hours, occasionally skimming the gunk off the top. When the water is significantly reduced and the bones are falling apart, discard the carcass, onion, celery and bay leaf. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh dillweed (yum!) when serving as soup. This is particularly good with matzah balls!
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#27 of 30 Old 09-29-2007, 09:29 PM
 
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I like to put my bones back in the oven to brown for a bit before I add water and start boiling them. I find it makes a richer flavor.

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#28 of 30 Old 09-30-2007, 03:14 AM
 
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I just made a really nice stock by putting some bone-in chicken breasts (we like white meat in our soup) in a stockpot with carrot, onion, celery, a couple of pounds of backs and necks, a carcass from a roast chicken that had been in the freezer, bay leaves, salt, pepper, thyme, white wine, rosemary--and water to cover for about 3-4 hours.

Free-range, organic backs and necks are really inexpensive compared to the rest of the chicken---so we buy the meat we like (breasts) and we don't waste the rest of the bird. The only exception to that is when we're in the store and the fresh roasted birds are coming off of the rotissere. Yum! There's no resisting that!

We have some grass-fed beef soup bones in our freezer and as soon as there's room for stock in our freezer I'll attempt beef stock--I've never done that before though. I'd REALLY like to try making a demi-glace! Does anyone know how to do that?
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#29 of 30 Old 09-30-2007, 05:57 AM
 
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I do boil the chicken in the water until the meat falls off. It MUST be the salt, then! No, no onions though. Should I? Saute first, or add in to boil?
It's not the salt. What you are describing is the bare beginnings of a good chicken soup. Take that chicken out, leave the liquid in the pot and let the chicken cool. Take the meat off and put it aside. Put those bones back into the same liquid and boil. I boil the bones for 3 days when I make stock, but you should boil them for at least 5 hours as a PP said. If you take it off of the heat when you leave, just put it back to boil again when you return.

Strain the broth (which should be very rich by now). Throw the bones away. Put the meat back in, cut or torn into the size that you want it for the soup. Add whatever veggies and noodles you want. If it needs salt, add it till it tastes right to you.

Seasoned salt is mostly MSG by the way. Read the labels... Spike is an excellent alternative.
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#30 of 30 Old 09-30-2007, 06:02 AM
 
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I'd REALLY like to try making a demi-glace! Does anyone know how to do that?
A traditional demi is made from beef AND veal bones but I don't do veal. Brown your beef bones in oil on all sides. Make sure that you brown them well. Alternatively you can roast them. Cover with water, boil for a few hours with a lid on. Strain, then simmer gently to reduce. Do not use a lid when reducing- you want all possible evaporation to be able to take place, otherwise it will take far, far longer. When it is very reduced it will be thickened and strongly flavored.

To get the proper velvety texture you want to use tail bones, neck bones and other bones with a lot of connective tissue.

Salt to taste. If you salt it before reducing it, you will have a VERY salty demi. The water evaporates off, leaving all flavor components including all of the salt.
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