When It’s Not a Big Fat Hen

What do you do with the little chickens in your freezer? Make soup. Here’s how.

You could start with a dry brine — cover the chicken inside and out with kosher salt 2 days before you cook. But if that’s too much trouble, skip it and just add salt to your stock pot of water until it tastes like salt water. Add onion quarters, a couple of celery stalks and peeled but not crushed garlic. When the salt water boils, add the whole chicken and do a slow simmer for HOURS. Do not boil or even do a fast simmer. Your pot should just barely bubble. Fast simmers and boils make for a cloudy broth.

It’s not ready until the meat is falling off the bone. And then you can cook it even longer with no ill effect, allowing your stock to reduce and intensify.

Remove the chicken, discard the vegetables and separate the meat from the bones. You now have 2 basic ingredients: chicken broth and meat. With the broth add your favorite mix of veggies, rice, noodles, or chicken meat or all or some of the above. Serve with crusty French bread and a glass of wine. With your meat make chicken salad either in a mayonnaise base or topping a fresh green salad.

Now you’re cookin’, sister!