Tag Archives: chicken 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.

Instant Pot & Stove Top *Bone Broth

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If you plan to use all of your bone broth within a week, a mason jar is perfect for storing it. For longer storage, freeze it flat in a zip-lock bag. I prefer quart bags rather than gallons so that I can use up all of what I defrost.

Bone Broth

Each week as I finish my Monday batch cooking, I start a fresh batch of bone broth. This is an economical step as well as habit that is wonderfully health enriching for my family. It also makes my heart happy since I’m continuing a tradition of the eternally simmering pot that was never absent from the back of my Grandpa Clarence’s stove.

The benefits of bone broth are a popular topic! This amuses me because it is not really a fad, but the resurfacing of a practice that goes back innumerable generations.

It’s popular for good reason. Bone broth is rich in vitamins and minerals to nourish you and your family.  It also contains one amazing element that is generally missing from the Western diet; gelatin!   Gelatin aids in digestion by actually attracting the digestive enzymes to the surface of cooked food particles.  This is a unique benefit because in most cases cooked foods actually repel digestive juices.

Bone broth heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, improves joint function, increases the strength and flexibility of bones, and gives us energy and strength.  It is a perfect staple food that can be used on its own, as a nutrition packed ingredient in many recipes, or to enhance the nutrition of grains and pasta.

To prepare to make bone broth, follow the poached chicken recipe here on my blog or save the bones from a whole roast chicken.

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For variety, every few batches of broth, I roast my bones. After I’ve removed all of the meat from the chicken (pictured above), I place the bones in a casserole and put them under the broiler on low. Turn the bones every few minutes so that they become toasty brown on all sides. Be careful removing the casserole from the oven. It will be very hot!

You can also add the vegetables that you used to flavor your cooked chicken to the broth if you don’t plan to eat them. In addition, save all of the peels and cut ends of vegetables that you use throughout the week in a zip-lock. Any veggies that are just passed their prime for serving fresh but not spoiled are a great addition to your broth. You can even add wilted herbs and lettuce. Change up the flavor of your broth by adding chilies, ginger, citrus zest, cloves or allspice… really anything that sounds delicious. Just remember that the flavors of what you add will be concentrated and will end up in other dishes you cook with bone broth like rice.

Ingredients

bones from 1 organic chicken

cold filtered water

1 cup wine (optional)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice OR 1 lemon cut in half

1 large onion, quartered

2-4 carrots, roughly chopped

3 celery ribs, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf, fresh if possible

all of the veggie scraps and nearly expired produce you’ve saved (remember that cruciferous vegetables add a strong flavor so use them sparingly or leave them out)

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Stove Top Method

Place all of the ingredients in your largest stock pot and cover with cool water and optional wine.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer covered, for 6-24 hours.  The longer you cook the stock, the more nutritious and flavorful it will be. I cook my broth until the medium sized bones crush easily when pressed with a fork.

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Remove your finished stock from the heat and allow to cool until it is safe to handle.  Strain the stock through a colander or cheese cloth into a large bowl to remove the vegetables and bones.  What you have now is an unsalted broth. Do not add salt to your broth until you are ready to use it so that the amount can be adjusted perfectly for each recipe.

The broth can be stored at this point or simmered to reduce it’s volume (I’d rather keep two mason jars in the fridge than 6 or 8!) and make it richer. To reduce it, place the broth back into the stock pot and simmer until reduced to about 1/4 of it’s original volume. The amount you actually yield will depend on the size of your original cooking vessel and how much water you used. In this state, the broth is wonderful to add to sauces but will be too strong to use alone as soup base or to cook rice or pasta. If using the reduced stock in these applications add about 1/2 stock and 1/2 water to your recipes.

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I like to store the broth in different amounts so that I can use or defrost it easily for various recipes.  I freeze larger amounts to use as the base for soups and stews.  Smaller one and two cup amounts can be frozen for making rice or pasta or for single servings of soup, making a ramen style dish that is dramatically healthier than the packaged stuff.  If you use a Ziploc bag for freezing, the bags can be stacked flat when frozen so that they take up the least freezer space.

Instant Pot Method

After much experimentation with the Instant Pot, I have decided it is my preferred method for making bone broth. It is not necessarily quicker but there are other benefits.

First, I don’t like having an open flame on the stove going while I sleep. If I am going to simmer my broth for more than one day, this means I have to refrigerate it multiple times and then heat it again. It’s a pain! I have tried a crock pot as a solution to this open flame problem but I don’t get soft bones and broth that gels as well when I do it this way. Actually I’ve found that Instant Pot broth gels better than both stove stop and slow cooker broths.

I also don’t love the way bone broth smells when it’s cooking, and Audree flat out hates it! Having it contained during preparation keeps the time the house smell like broth to a minimum. One other little note about smell… You will want to invest in a second sealing ring for your Instant Pot if you want to make things like yogurt or sweets in your pot along with bone broth. Because this has a strong flavor, it will imbue your sealing ring with a meaty flavor that does not cause a problem when making stew or beans but is not Delicious in my Greek yogurt. I use my clear ring that came with the pot for savory foods and a blue one that I bought on Amazon for mild tasting foods and desserts.

The last benefit is that my Instant Pot broth comes out much more clear. This is an aesthetic benefit, but something I like as opposed to the cloudy broth that results from long simmering.

To make your broth, place all of the ingredients in your instant pot and cover with cool water and optional wine. You can use a 6 or 8 quart pot without adjusting the amount of ingredients but your yield will be different.  Cover the pot and move your valve to seal. Now set the pot to high pressure for 4 hours using the manual pressure button. Once the 4 hours have passed, press cancel to turn off the pot. Now without allowing any pressure to release, set the slow cook feature on normal for 12-20 hours. It will natural release during slow cooking, but leaving the pressure in the pot for as long as possible helps break down the bones.

When the slow cooking time has elapsed, I always test the bones with a fork. If the smaller to medium sized bones crush easily, your broth is done. If they are still quite stiff, I pressure cook it for a few more hours before straining it.

Strain the finished stock through a colander or cheese cloth into a large bowl to remove the vegetables and bones.  What you have now is an unsalted broth. Do not add salt to your broth until you are ready to use it so that the amount can be adjusted perfectly for each recipe.

The broth can be stored at this point or simmered to reduce it’s volume (I’d rather keep two mason jars in the fridge than 6 or 8!) and make it richer. To reduce it, place the broth into a stock pot and simmer until reduced to about 1/4 of it’s original volume. In this state, the broth is wonderful to add to sauces but will be too strong to use alone as soup base or to cook rice or pasta. If using the reduced stock in these applications add about 1/2 stock and 1/2 water to your recipes.

I like to store the broth in different amounts so that I can use or defrost it easily in various recipes.  I freeze larger amounts to use as the base for soups and stews.  Smaller one and two cup amounts can be frozen for making rice or pasta or for single servings of soup, making a ramen style dish that is dramatically healthier than the packaged stuff.  If you use a Ziploc bag for freezing, the bags can be stacked flat when frozen so that they take up the least freezer space.