Fall is just about here and, depending on where you live, it may be time to make some soup.
To make really good tasting soup, you need a rich tasting broth. I usually start with the remains of a whole 4 lb chicken that I have either cooked on the grill or roasted in the oven. Remove as much meat as you can, reserve 2-3 cups for a chicken soup and use the remainder of the chicken meat for other dishes. To make the broth even richer, roast the chicken bones in the oven.
Roasted Chicken Bone Broth
Bones from 4 lb. cooked chicken, picked as clean as possible
Place an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 450°F. Spread the bones in a large roasting pan and place the pan in the oven on the lower rack and roast the bones until deeply brown, 45-60 minutes. Transfer the bones to a Dutch Oven or soup pot. Spoon the fat from the juices in the roasting pan and discard. Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium-high heat. When browned bits begin to sizzle, pour in 2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Pour into the pot with the roasted bones.
Add the following:
2 scrubbed carrots, cut in half
1 onion quartered or 1 bunch of scallions
2 celery stalks, cut in thirds
1 large garlic clove, peeled
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 large bay leaf
Add these ingredients to the stockpot with the roasted bones and add enough cold water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 4 hours.
Remove and discard the large bones and vegetable pieces. Strain the stock in a fine mesh colander lined with a piece of cheesecloth.
Discard the vegetables and bones. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper to the soup pot. You can add more seasoning later depending on how you will use the stock.
You now have a flavorful stock to make some great soups. And here is a favorite soup:
Italian Escarole Bean Soup
½ yellow onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups dried white beans (cannellini), soaked overnight in water to cover and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
16 cups chicken broth, recipe above
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 heads of escarole, washed and cut into small pieces
1 cup diced, cooked spicy Italian sausage
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Parmesan cheese for serving
Heat oil in a large Dutch Oven and add the onions, celery, and garlic. Cook until tender.
Add the Italian seasoning, the drained cannellini beans, and the chicken broth.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cooked the beans for 30 minutes. Add the sausage, salt, and escarole.
Let simmer until the escarole wilts. Ladle into soup bowls and top with Parmesan cheese.