Tag Archives: chicken noodle soup

Instant Pot & Stove Top * Poached Chicken & Chicken Soup

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I start my batch cooking each week with a poached chicken. It is one of the easiest ways to cook a whole chicken and leaves you with delicious and very versatile meat plus lovely, clear stock. It also makes the chicken very easy to pull apart so the bones are ready for bone broth in a snap. Both stove top and Instant Pot instructions are below!

Even if you don’t do batch cooking, this perfectly cooked chicken can be turned into multiple meals, making this recipe both delicious and economical. Everyone can afford a local-organic chicken if it is going to stretch into many dishes! I buy a really ethically sourced chicken at my local health food store each week for about $2.89 a pound. This is a lot more than what I can find at the regular supermarket for $.69 a pound if it’s on special.

Here’s the thing though. We made a commitment a long time ago not to spend our dollars on food that harms us and our ecosystem. We are willing to stretch the more expensive meat into several meals. The higher priced chicken doesn’t increase my grocery budget even a dollar but we can feel great about our food. We know that the chicken we are eating led a totally normal life outdoors, foraged and ate it’s natural diet and died humanely. This can’t be said for the grocery store brand. In fact, I would never make one of those chickens into bone broth because it would only be concentrating the junk that it had been exposed to during it’s life before we consumed it.

So out of this one chicken, this is what I make each week:

4 Quarts Chicken Soup – Once my poached chicken has cooked and cooled, I remove all of the dark meat and reserve it for soup. You’ll find the whole recipe below. We eat this throughout the week topped with fresh herbs as a side to our lunches. You can also easily turn chicken soup into a chicken pot pie or chicken and dumplings dinner if it doesn’t all get eaten up.

1 Quart Chicken Stock – Before I make my chicken soup, I reserve one quart of plain chicken broth for the base to another soup. You can use it for anything but I like to make nettle soup in the spring, cream of broccoli, lentil, or white bean with preserved lemon. When I’m batch cooking, I get this soup made as soon as my chicken is done and put it into a container for later. The stock will save nicely for up to a week in a mason jar you choose not to cook with it right away.

1 Family Dinner – After I remove the dark meat for my soup, I am left with the perfectly cooked breasts. If you are not batch cooking, this meat will save nicely if it is covered in some of the broth and refrigerated or frozen. I like to turn it into my meal right away so that my time is free on other days. We shred the breast for lettuce wraps, add it to pasta with sauteed  greens and Parmesan, add it to an easy mushroom and Dijon cream sauce that tops rice or pasta, stir fry it with lots of veggies,  or eat it simply sliced with mashed potatoes and broccoli. There are endless chicken breast recipes so you won’t have trouble making use of your perfectly cooked meat.

Bone Broth – There are a lot of cranky food know it all’s on social media that complain that some big distinction has been made between stock and broth as a marketing hook. I don’t know if this is true but I grew up with grandparents who always cooked from scratch and they used broth and stock differently.

Stock is the liquid that is the result of cooking meat in water, just until it is done. It is usually served along with the meat like in chicken and rice or dumplings. The broth my grandpa Clarence had eternally simmering on the back of his stove is made from the bones and bits of meat that can’t be removed from a carcass. Veggies are added for nutrition and flavor. A good broth has to be cooked for a very long time to extract its healing properties and will be rich and dark in color when it’s finished. This can be sipped plain or used to replace some of the water in recipes that call for cooking liquid.

So as far as me and my grandparents, broth is not stock. So with ALLLL that background info, I’ll get to my point. Each week, I take bones from my chicken and the veggies that I poached with it and turn it into bone broth. The recipe for this is in a separate post.

Ingredients

1 5 lb chicken

4 carrots

1 whole celery heart

2 large leeks or shallots

1 large onion cut in half

4 garlic cloves, smashed

1 inch of ginger

Whole fresh herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, tarragon and sage

1 bay leaf, fresh if possible

8 peppercorns

3 whole cloves

1 cup white wine (optional)

3/4 lb small mushrooms

1 Tbs salt

1/2 tsp of dried chili flakes (optional)

Stove Top method

Start by chopping all of the vegetables that you have to add to your poached chicken into large pieces. Those suggested above are just a rough guide. You can use absolutely anything you have on hand. Leave out or go light on cruciferous veggies like cabbage, broccoli, or turnips. Their strong flavor will overwhelm your dish. Rinse your chicken and remove the giblets.

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Leave all of your herbs as whole as possible to make them easier to remove from finished stock.

Place it in the largest stockpot that you have along with all the other veggies. Add the wine, spices, salt, and herbs. Now cover the chicken with cool water, about 10 cups or more.

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I like to use a generous amount of water so that I end up with lots of stock. If the chicken is floating to the top, place a colander over the top of it to weight it down before covering the pot.

Place the pot over high heat and bring it to a boil quickly. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes. If you needed a colander, you can remove it now. Cover your pot again and bring the pot back to a strong boil. Turn the heat off and leave the covered pot to sit for 45 minutes to an hour depending on the exact size of your chicken.

When the chicken is cooked, remove the veggies to a bowl if you would like to eat them with the cooked chicken breast. They are perfectly cooked but will get soggy if left in the broth. You may also reserve these vegetables to use to make bone broth later.

Now remove the chicken into a casserole dish with a pair of strong tongs. Be very careful to approach this part with Julia Child confidence and courage since the chicken is extremely hot and slippery. Let it sit for 10 minutes or more until it has cooled enough to touch. The chicken may fall apart as you remove it so be sure to get all the pieces out of the pot.

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Carefully begin to pull the chicken apart into large pieces. The bones should literally slip out. You may have to work slightly harder to take the breast apart but it should not be difficult. Unless you plan to serve the whole chicken, put the dark meat and breasts into separate containers. Leave the bones and skin in the casserole dish if you plan to start your bone broth on the same day. If you’d like to do your broth on a separate day, put them into a container and refrigerate or freeze them.

Instant Pot Method:

The instructions that follow are for an 8 quart Instant Pot and a 5 pound chicken. If you have a smaller pot and chicken you can use less vegetables and water. The cooking time decreases by about 3 minutes per pound for smaller chickens. You can’t really overcook the meat by cooking it a few minutes too long since it is in liquid. If it’s under cooked, just put it on for a few more minutes.

Start by chopping all of the vegetables that you have to add to your poached chicken into large pieces. Those suggested above are just a rough guide. You can use absolutely anything you have on hand. Leave out or go light on cruciferous veggies like cabbage, broccoli, or turnips. Their strong flavor will overwhelm your dish. Rinse your chicken and remove the giblets. Place it in the Instant Pot along with all the other veggies. Add the wine, spices, salt, and herbs. Now cover the chicken with cool water. I like to fill my Instant Pot all the way to the max fill line so that I get tons of broth from each chicken.

Use the pressure cook button to set your pot for 25 min on high pressure. When the pressure cooking has finished, let your pot natural release for at least 20 min.

When the chicken is cooked, remove the veggies to a bowl if you would like to eat them with the cooked chicken breast. They are perfectly cooked but will get soggy if left in the broth. You may also reserve these vegetables to use to make bone broth later.

Now remove the chicken into a casserole dish with a pair of strong tongs. Be very careful to approach this part with Julia Child confidence and courage since the chicken is extremely hot and slippery. Let it sit for 10 minutes or more until it has cooled enough to touch. The chicken may fall apart as you remove it so be sure to get all the pieces out of the pot.

Carefully begin to pull the chicken apart into large pieces. The bones should literally slip out. You may have to work slightly harder to take the breast apart but it should not be difficult. Unless you plan to serve the whole chicken, put the dark meat and breasts into separate containers. Leave the bones and skin in the casserole dish if you plan to start your bone broth on the same day. If you’d like to do your broth on a separate day, put them into a container and refrigerate or freeze them.

Chicken Soup

Dark meat removed and reserved from poached chicken

Broth reserved from poached chicken

4 carrots, chopped

1 whole celery heart, chopped

2 large leeks or shallots, finely minced

1 large onion, finely minced

4 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped fine

4-6 Yukon gold or red potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces

1 capful apple cider vinegar

dried chili flakes (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup fresh or frozen baby peas

fresh herbs like dill, basil, chives, or parsley chopped for garnish

1 handful soft greens like mizuna, watercress or arugula

1 green onion, chopped for garnish

Start your soup by sweating the onions, shallots or leeks, carrots, and celery in a large stock pot until they start to soften. Adding a little salt while they saute will help this process. Add the garlic and continue to saute for 90 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the potatoes and the reserved chicken broth.

Simmer on low until the vegetables become soft but are still al dente. This can take anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes depending on their size. Add the capful  of apple cider vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes.

Taste the soup and add chili flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the peas and reserved chicken. If you are using fresh peas, simmer the soup for 3 minutes to soften them. If the peas are frozen, no further cooking is needed.

At this point, you can cool the soup and refrigerate or freeze it. When you are ready to serve it, put fresh herbs, greens, and green onion into serving bowls, then top with the hot soup. Add cooked rice or pasta for a hearty, nourishing meal.