This soup is guaranteed to be delish, it does not take a lot of work, but you need to plan for a 2-3 day process. The chickens or turkey need roasting and the pan drippings and broth both need to be chilled overnight to allow all the fat to rise to the top so it can be removed and discarded.
If you don’t have the time, pour the drippings from the roasting into a fat separator or a clear measuring cup. Allow to sit 20 minutes so the fat can rise to the top. Then pour the fat away or open the bottom of the fat separator so the good drippings can be dropped into a container or poured into the stock.
I use all organic chickens and produce for the best flavor!
Barbara Kafka’s book, Soup a Way of Life, was used for guidance in developing this recipe.
Stage 1: Roasting the Chickens or Turkey
An easy alternative is to buy 3 deli roasted chickens which are smaller than the 5 pounders I roast, but then you won’t get the pan drippings to enrich your stock!
In a large roasting pan with a flat or V-shaped turkey rack in the bottom, place two 5-pound organic roasting chickens that have been rinsed well and dried with toweling.
Sprinkle chickens generously with kosher salt. The turkey should be brined or salted overnight first. More info below.
Place roaster on the bottom rack of a preheated 425 degree F oven
Brush skin with melted butter
Roast chickens 25 minutes and then rotate pan front to back. Brush skin with butter. Roast another 25 minutes and rotate again. Brush skin with butter. Add 1/2 cup water to pan. Add more water as needed. You should end up with at least 1 and 1/2 cups of pan drippings.
Roast another 25 minutes or until thickest part of breast reads 160 and the thigh reads 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
Let chickens rest on the stove top 15 minutes. Serve or debone completely. Reserve all bones.
The turkey roasting
We call this TURKZILLA!
The turkey takes longer. Roast breast side down on a foil covered rack that’s been punctured with many knife slits, 45 minutes at 425 degrees then turn breast side up. Roast 1 -1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees or until internal breast temperature reaches 160 degrees. Maintain 1 cup or more of water in the pan while roasting.
For more specifics go to CooksIllustrated.com and look up Roasted Salted Turkey
Add more water to the roasting pan and heat on the stove top if the drippings stick to the pan. Pour into a container. Refrigerate overnight and then remove the fat layer on top. To cut corners pour drippings into a clear container and let sit 20 minutes. Use a fat separator if you have one.
This fat separator opens at the bottom so the handle can be squeezed and the drippings only are dropped out of the bottom.
Stage 2: The Broth or Stock
The Perfect Stock Pot!
In a large pot place all the bones of 2 large roasting chickens or 1 turkey and cover with water by an inch.
Add the reserved drippings. Cover stock and bring to a boil.
Allow broth to barely simmer so bubbles are just breaking the surface of the liquid, with the lid slightly ajar, 4-5 hours. Add water if the level falls below the bones.
Remove from the heat and cool 15 minutes.
Strain broth through a colander and a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth into a large pot or bowl. Pour strained broth into storage containers. I use quart size canning jars. This makes about 3-4 quarts.
Refrigerate stock overnight to allow fat to rise to the surface and solidify. Discard fat before using broth.
Stage 3: Making the Soup
In a large pot melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat
Stir in 1 large shallot, chopped and 2 leeks, washed well and sliced (white and light green parts) or 2 onions, peeled and cut in wedges
Sauté until translucent. Add 1-2 large cloves garlic, minced and sauté 10 seconds. Don’t brown the garlic!
Add 8-12 cups roast chicken broth and bring to a boil
Add 1 fennel bulb, sliced horizontally or 8 stalks celery, sliced
1 turnip, peeled and diced, optional
1 pound thin carrots, peeled and sliced into coins or a fun squash like delicata, seeded, cut in 1/4s and sliced
Simmer with a cover 5 minutes
Add 3-4 small zucchini (the striped zucchini variety is attractive). You can also add yellow summer squash. Simmer with a cover 5 minutes
Voila! Your soup is finished! This is a very fresh tasting soup so don’t overlook the vegetables. They should hold their shape. Reheating will cook the vegetables further.