Friday, May 6, 2011

The Best Roast Chicken: Leftover Edition Recipe One

Best Roast Chicken, Ever!
This sucker was so huge, we were eating leftovers for days and left with a carcass full of yummy meat. I decided to go the soup route with three different results (OK, truthfully, two are similar yet distinct). I removed the half-grapefruit I stuffed in the cavity, but left the half onion including the skin. Cool tip: When making broth, leave the skin on an onion to get a rich, medium brown broth.

I covered the carcass with water and let it simmer away for about an hour. Straining the broth, I was left with about 10-12 cups of delicious broth. Here's the first recipe of what I did and ultimately one of my favourite all time soups. I had it at a restaurant and I've spent the last ten years trying to perfect the recipe. I'm close.

Lemon Chicken Leek and Spinach Soup
This is a very delicate soup and while I almost always prefer a hardy soup with chunky vegetables, the aim of this particular soup is a simple elegance that is refreshing and satisfying. The delicacy of the leeks and the soft perfume of lemon really shine through. If the zest of one lemon isn't enough, feel free to juice the lemon and add according to your taste, but your aim is subtlety.

8 cups of chicken broth
2 large leeks, trimmed and rinsed VERY well (they're sandy little suckers)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup frozen spinach (if I don't have homegrown fresh stuff, I like to buy the little frozen pucks. Makes recipes like these much easier).
3/4 cup white meat picked from carcass
1 large lemon, zested (I prefer to use the Microplane, so the zest almost melts into the soup)
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Throw in all your ingredients together and simmer until leeks have softened, about 30 minutes. I did add about 1 tsp of instant chicken bouillon, which I'm always embarrassed to admit, but I needed a bit more depth of flavour and Honey Bear was screaming for dinner. The good news is a found a soup winner and a dinner we could ALL enjoy for once!

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