i have 4 pieces of chicken thighs. i want to make a soup. usually i would use bullion cube. how can i make it flavorful without the bouillon cube. also is it better to shred or cube to serve four people? would it be good with ginger?
Basic chicken soup. Add flavor in the beginning by sauteeing some carrot, onion, celery, garlic (use what's on hand). Yes, ginger would be lovely. Add your chicken thighs (bone, skin & all) and water, boil, skimming as needed. When cooked, cool a bit, strain. If you have time, some like to cool the soup so the fat rises to the surface as a solid. Discard if you don't like, or save to use as schmaltz (chicken drippings). Most don't restore the cooked vegetables, except the carrot. Finish your seasoning...with the ginger, you could go to soy, sesame oil, cilantro, star anise and/or some five spice powder. Without the ginger, finish with dill or parsley. Optional - serve with cooked small pasta, dumplings, crackers or bread on the side.
The best way to make it flavorful is to spend a long time making the soap base. If you plan to use the meat in the soup after you make the stock. Simmer it 30 mins and remove the thighs and take the meat out and reserve in the fridge. Then put the skin and bones back in the stock pot.
With celery, onion, carrot. Simmer a couple of hours. Remove the veggies and skim the stock.
Then add the ginger and simmer another 30 mins...add some garlic at this point too.
Adjust the taste with salt or soy sauce...thicken with a slurry of cornstarch and water add back in the chicken (mushrooms, fresh veggies) and simmer yet another 20 mins or so until the veggies are soft. If you add tofu...do that moments before serving.
Start everything in cold water and slowly bring to a boil. Carrots, a whole onion, a rib of celery (save the celery leaves for later in the process). Add whole peppercorns (I use either a teaball or a paper teabag tied with string--the other end of the string gets tied to the pot handle for easy removal later). Simmer 1/2 to one hour; pull out the chicken pieces and take the meat off the bones. Save for later; add the bones back in and simmer longer. Tie a handful of parsley sprigs together tightly with some kitchen string. Tie the other end of the string (again) to the pot handle; add also some celery leaves if you have them. Simmer for the last 10 minutes or so; remove peppercorns, parsley, etc. strain out the solids to leave a clear broth; refrigerate and chill; skim prior to serving. I serve it with the boiled carrots (if they're too soft I sometimes boil up another carrot, sliced, in the broth). Serve with rice or noodles or kreplach (matzoh balls) if desired (I never simmer these in the soup, but in a separate pot of salted water). Taste for salt and seasoning and serve. (If using the ginger, I'd probably leave out the parsley and celery leaves).
Lena, I like to cube the chicken , it doesn't have to be perfect but I like the chunks rather than shredded. Also, I pop my thighs on the grill for a few minutes to get some grill marks before putting into the soup. I prefer skinless boneless thighs. All the other comments cover building flavors. If you are going t use ginger and go for an Asian flavor make some Soba noodles to add to the soup. Good Luck and let us know how it turns out.
PHIL: I'm curious why you prefer to make soup with skinless, boneless meat? The bones and skin impart so much more flavor than the meat.
I'm surprised at that too Phil. However, I'm thinking you are referring to finishing the soup after you've made the soup base.
To me, four chicken thighs isn't much for making soup for four people. I'd probably roast two or three of them and then remove and reserve the meat to add back in later. Then, I'd add to my soup pot any juices that accumulated from the roasting, the bones and skin from the roasted chicken and the one or two chicken pieces that you didn't roast. To that I'd add onion, carrot, celery and salt at a minimum. Personally, I also love to add parsnip and dill.
Hi June, I have done the whole chicken thing too . but since I would use chicken stock also I don't need the bones and skin. It's a bit of a short cut but like I said, I grill the thighs a little , then cut them up and put them in the stock , juices and all. The thighs have a lot of flavor. Maybe if I wasn't using stock I would use regular thighs. nobody has complained yet in my house but that is probably because they are afraid to criticize the cook. I still build the soup like Nancy mentioned,
In our family chicken soup and chicken stock are one and the same.We make the soup from bones, meat, vegetables, seasonings and water. Then we add whatever starchy filler (noodles, matzo balls, etc. to the clear soup when it's finished. What you are "adding" to your chicken soup is what we call Chicken Soup!
Making soup for 4 with 4 chicken thighs is not going to get you far. It takes more than 4 thigh bones to make an adequate amount of soup base. You could certainly supplement the stock with either purchased stock (I really like the Swanson brand or Better Than Bouillon paste) or make a separate stock with some chicken wings (my favorite for stock) and use the thigh meat to finish the soup.
with only 4 thighs I would probably add some chopped potatoes or load up on the Ditalini.
And to answer your question Susan, I do have a decent broth going before the chicken gets in there.
I suspected you were referring to finishing the soup. I posted that before I saw your reply to June. #needmorecoffee
Also like to add some scrambled egg and spinach in there to like Stracciatella soup.
forgot , some Parmesan too.......
We make really good chicken stock & freeze it in 2 cup portions in freezer bags. Last week my daughter didn't feel good. I had 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs. I poached them in the stored broth, shredded them & added a squeeze of lemon juice - pure medicine!