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~Eat Some, Freeze Some, Easy Chicken Soup Bowls~

IMG_4188Simply stated, every recipe does not have to be a rocket science recipe -- it simply has to taste, without compromise, great.  If the end justifies the means, and in the case of this recipe it does, there's no shame in a shortcut or three -- and, to prove my point, I now have eight, four-cup containers of chocked-full-of-chicken-and-vegetables soup in my freezer, which will see me nicely through the upcoming snowstorms until the Spring thaw.  This soup is every bit as tasty as grandma's old-fashioned chicken soup, it's just a lot less time consuming to make.

All I have to do:  Thaw, reheat & bring on some egg noodles.

IMG_4175For this easy chocked-full-of-chicken & vegetables soup:

IMG_4121For the soup stock:

3  pounds chicken tenderloins

12  cups water

1  32-ounce box each: Kitchen Basics original chicken stock and original beef stock*

1  tablespoon each:  Herb-Ox granulated chicken bouillon and beef bouillon*

1  tablespoon each:  garlic and onion powder and sea salt

1 1/2  teaspoons coarse-grind black pepper

*Note:  You are not imagining things, I am adding beef stock and beef bouillon to this chicken soup recipe.  Yes, it is a bit unconventional, but, when one is making a quick chicken soup from boxed stock and boneless, skinless chicken (without the all-flavorful bones), one has to add a bit of strong base flavor -- and that comes in the form of beef stock.  While you shouldn't ever make chicken soup using all beef stock (it's just to strong), when its strength gets diluted with chicken stock, it is a great flavor enhancer.   Please trust this well-seasoned cook on this point.  

IMG_4131For the add-ins

2  generous cups diced yellow or sweet onion (12 ounces)

2  generous cups diced celery (12 ounces)

4  generous cups peeled and 1/4" coined carrots (1 1/2 pounds after trimming)

6  generous cups peeled and 3/4" cubed gold potatoes (3 pounds after peeling)

IMG_4119 IMG_4119 IMG_4119~ Step 1.  Place all of the ingredients for the soup stock, as listed, in a wide-bottomed 12-quart stockpot (the chicken tenders, water, boxed stocks, bouillons, and all the dry spices).  Using a large spoon, give the mixture a thorough stir.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then, reduce heat to a gentle but steady simmer.  Partially cover the pot and continue to simmer for 1 full hour.  While the chicken is simmering in the stock, use this time to prep the add-ins as directed.  Turn the heat off.

IMG_4141 IMG_4141~ Step 2.  Using a large slotted spoon, remove the chicken tenderloins from the stock and place them on a plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow them to steam-cool until they can be handled with the hands, about 5-10 minutes.   Uncover the chicken tenderloins.  Using your fingertips, pull the meat into bite-sized bits and pieces .

IMG_4138 IMG_4138 IMG_4138 IMG_4138~Step 3.  Add all of the add-ins to the stock (onions, carrots, celery and potatoes).  Give the mixture a thorough stir, then, bring the mixture to a boil over high eat.  Reduce heat to a gentle but steady simmer and continue to cook, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the carrots and potatoes are cooked through and tender. Add all of the pulled chicken and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, just to heat the chicken through.  If you have the time, turn heat off, cover pot and allow soup to steep for 1-2 hours, to allow all the flavors time to marry into the vegetables.

IMG_4173 IMG_4173~ Step 4.  Serve soup ladled over egg noodles, or, portion into 8, 1-quart freezer-safe containers with tight-fitting lids. Refrigerate several hours or overnight, then, freeze.  Tip:  Refrigeration prior to freezing prevents/eliminates freezer burn.

Eight quarts of clear-brothed, bold-flavored, rich, hearty soup:  

IMG_4170 2Ladle over cooked egg noodles & enjoy every last slurp:

IMG_4193Eat Some, Freeze Some, Easy Chicken Soup Bowls:  Recipe yields 8 quarts chicken vegetable soup.

Special Equipment List:  wide-bottomed 12-quart stockpot w/lid; cutting board; large spoon; chef's knife; vegetable peeler; large slotted spoon; plastic wrap; soup ladle; 8, 1-quart size freezer and microwave safe food storage containers w/tight-fitting lids; soup ladle

6a0120a8551282970b0278806529d9200dCook's Note:  If you've ever envisioned yourself being a restaurant chef, be careful what you wish for:  the pots are big, the load is heavy.  There's more.  As a home cook, in terms of slicing, dicing, chopping and mincing, you won't have any line cooks to perform those menial tasks for you.  Don't get me wrong (I'm not trying to talk you out of this), big batch cooking isn't necessarily hard, but, more-often than not, it is time consuming -- in many instances, it's prudent to do the majority of the prep work on one day and the actual cooking the next, so, be sure to schedule enough time.  Past that, it's also necessary to invest in some big-batch restaurant-sized equipment.  When armed with the right recipe, the right mindset, and the right equipment, the big batch reward is great. That said, preparing a big batch of almost anything is a bit different from regular cooking.  To learn why it's different, read my post ~ What to Consider Before Cooking in Big Batches ~.  

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)


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