I cook with stock all the time. I use it for sauces, and gravies; I cook rice and pasta in it. And almost every single time, it’s from a box, or the grocery store. I’ve only ever made stock from scratch, once, which I recounted a month or so ago.
There is currently running a commercial for pre-made cartons of stock. It’s actually a brand that I consider quality, which I’ve used numerous times. I do though take issue with the message of this ad. In various vignettes, people are insisting they cook because they make “they make the best chicken noodle soup”. Then they proceed to show them adding some chicken meat, a few veg, and some bagged egg noodles to a bubbling pot of said company’s chicken stock.
These poor, deluded folk are not chicken soup makers. At best they are “stuff-put-er-inners”. To produce homemade chicken noodle soup you must start with a chicken, and maybe even make your own noodles.
Anything less is practically opening a can. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I have enjoyed many cans of varieties of chicken noodle (stars, noodle-o’s, curly, spaghetti-shaped) soups. But I never tried to pass it off as scratch-made.
Now, if you want to make a chicken soup that begins with stock (canned or made in your own kitchen) which you can still claim as your own, I’ve got a recipe for you.
This is a rich, creamy, lemony chowder. It’s a little bit of a riff on Panera Bread’s creamy chicken and wild rice soup. It also freezes and reheats well.
Lemon chicken and wild rice chowder
8 tablespoons butter divided
1/2 cup flour
3 carrots, peeled and cut into same size pieces
4 stalks celery, leaves and all, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup dried mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Zest of 2 lemons, divided
Juice of 2 lemons
1 cup rice and/or grain mix with wild rice (I like Bob’s Red Mill Brown and Wild Rice)
1 1/2cups frozen shoe peg corn
1 cup white wine
5 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 cup heavy cream
4-5 cups cooked chicken, white and dark, cut or ripped into bite-sized pieces.
Melt 6 tablespoons butter in small skillet. Whisk in flour and cook over low until light blond in color.
In a large heavy pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Place in pot: Carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, thyme, bay leaves, half the lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cook until there is some color on veg, and carrots are starting to soften.
Stir in rice and/or grain mix and let cook until they start to brown around the edges.
Deglaze the pot with wine. Cook, stirring often until it’s all cooked in.
Pour in stock and skim milk. Bring to slow simmer. Add corn.
When the rice/grain is fully cooked (time varies according to type), bring to a boil and whisk in roux until it’s cream soup thickness.
Turn down to low. Pour in lemon juice. When the juice is thoroughly mixed in, stir in cream and gently add chicken.
Check for seasoning, and keep warm until service. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkling of lemon zest.
Makes 8-10 servings.
This soup is delicious and quite impressive. A soup that you can be proud to call your own. So you don’t need to pretend you did something you really didn’t.
Don’t be that guy.
Thanks for your time.