Saturday, March 31, 2012


It's hard to imagine a dish more frugal than soup.  It starts with what we don't eat -- even with water drained from cooking vegetables or beans.  Toss in some spices and some odds-and-ends, and you've got yet another dinner.

This week's soup stock started with a chicken.  J-son has been begging to be allowed to cook a chicken himself; this was his week to prove he could do it.  Here he is, pretending that his head is coming out of the platter.  He doesn't have the anatomy of his dinner down well enough to know that his head is supposed to be at the other end of the chicken, but on the other hand -- the important hand, here -- he's turning into a mean cook.  Is that the other wing I mean?  Either way, there wasn't a lot left when our family was done.
J-son, or John the Baptist?  You decide.

All that was left when we were done was skin and bones.  Not a lot of skin, either.  It all went into the crock pot, covered with water, to cook all night on "low".  Come morning, I turned off the heat and let the mixture cool.

Once the mixture cooled, I drained off and save the broth, straining out everything else.  Then comes the part not suitable for the squeamish -- separating out the meat, bones, and other.  The only way I know of is to do this slowly by hand.  I took no pictures of this step, not because I'm protecting delicate sensibilities, but because my hands were so slimy I didn't want to touch the camera.

The nice meat goes back into the broth -- chicken soup.  The bones . . . I'd love to compost them, but my husband is worried it would attract skunks.  So they go in the trash.  Any advice out there about alternatives?
What to do with bare bones?  I dunno.

And the "other"?  The ookey, blobby parts I put into a special, well-labeled ice cube tray, and from there into the freezer.  I can pull out one cube at a time later for my dog, who loves-loves-loves them.
My dog loves the ookey parts of the chicken.
This way he gets them a little at a time.
For those who haven't done this process, one small chicken can make a heck of a lot of soup stock; I'm using our little 4-lb chicken as the basis for soup that will feed about 16 people about 2 weeks from now.  Add some veggies, some noodles, some odds-and-ends, and we'll have a meal.  Soup's on!


  1. I always learn something new from you--the dog treats in the ice cube tray, what a great way to make it all last longer. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hello, fellow basil killer! The bones and the ooky bits from all of the meat group go into my fireplace, and the ash gets sprinkled into the compost or garden where it sweetens the soil. An old hibachi, or even your BBQ can substitute - if you have a gas BBQ use an old metal dish or a piece of tin foil and I would wait until this evening's 'T-Bones' are off before I began the immolation. Ideally, you would reduce everything to ash, but once the soft bits are burned off, the skunks will lose interest.

    Thanks for your great ideas!

    1. I love this. Great reason to have a barbecue! I mentioned it to my skunk-averse husband, and he agrees this technique would ease his worries. Score! -- MM