roasted chicken soup with sourdough matzo

The audacity of this experiment comes from the idea of the similarity of sourdough crusts to crackers.

battery chicken Photoshop

Battery chicken

battery chicken Photoshop

Psyche! I meant
battery chickens like this ↓.

battery chickens animation

Not the best choice for flavorful soup, free range is a better option, but I got this battery chicken on sale and I do have this sack of bread crumbs made from the crusts of sourdough used earlier for a party and I thought, "why not attempt matzo balls with these here sourdough crumbs instead of matzo cracker crumbs? I mean, what could go wrong, besides being dragged before the the Sanhedrin court?"

The flavor of a whole chicken boiled in water is diluted but the flavor of chicken roasted is concentrated. Of course, then boiling that then dilutes it, but
after it has undergone and benefited from the Maillard reactions that occur when meats are roasted in which layers of desirable flavors are developed. So roasting it is. Then boiling.

Rinsed, dried, rubbed the chicken in olive oil with S/P and dry Italian herbs, inside and out, atop and underneath the skin.

roasted chicken series

Overdid it a little bit here. The thighs fell off lifting the roasted chicken out of the pot.

It is the bones and not the meat that will be boiled down. The bones are broken open so the marrow is exposed (pliers), and the neck, the liver, heart, gizzard, if you have them, and it angers me when I don't, excess skin, all the bits, the beak the feet, etc, all go into the pot. OK, I made up those last two, but I would if I had them. Pressure cooked to hasten the process. And then ... liquid gold -- the currency of the traditional kitchen. ← I made that up too, but I really do believe it. All that after eating one of the breasts, I mean come'on, it's never better than when first pulled from the oven, impossible to resist and you're foolish to try, and who's going to stop you?

So all that goes into the pot with water. A brown protein foam forms on the top of the water when it first comes to a boil that can be removed by skimming. If the foam is left in it will break down and boil back into the stock imparting a faintly bitter taste. Not a tragedy, it's just that your stock is clearer if the foam is skimmed when you have the chance. After the stock is cooked to your satisfaction, some say briefly, some say extensively, I say, extract every possible gram of goodness these chickens can offer -- they did forfeit their lives for this end, after all, might as well make the most of it. Besides, battery chickens are not known for their intense flavor resulting from a varied diet of bugs and worms and spiders, and seeds, and larva and, well, you get the idea. I boil the water for hours without any of the usual aromatics like onion, celery, or root vegetables carrot, parsnips or whatnot, nor any herbs at this point. It's just my personal choice. But if there's anything old in the crisper you're close to clearing out, now is a good time to include it with the stock and boil the last trace of life from it. I prefer the stock to be plain straight unadulterated chicken stock. That way I can adulterate it later to my heart's desire. It's idiosyncratic, I know, but you do whatever you wish. I compress hours of simmering to about an hour and a half of gentle pressure in a pressure cooker pot. My friends all think I'm insane for using one. To a person they all say they never hear of anybody using a pressure cooker except maybe their own mothers from a time before I was born. Ha ha ha ha ha. If they only accepted how amazing they are, especially for cooking at high altitude they would not be so quick to ridicule, if all that mocking is ridicule and not just amazement.

The cooked stock with all the exhausted components that made it is strained through a colander to get out the large bones and broken down carcass along with whatever else went into it, then strained again back into the original soup pot through a fine strainer to catch all the smaller particles. Done. Ta daaaa. There's the broth.

Chill in a large cylindrical pitcher and you can lift off the fat as a surface disc and discard. Or use it. Some cooks make their matzos with schmaltz.

If you were successful in extracting the marrow and if there was sufficient marrow to begin with, which is not always certain with young battery chickens, then the broth will become gelatin when chilled. Do not be alarmed, this is a sign of success.

Matzo mix is crushed dried matzo bread, usually a cracker although it can be a flat unleavened bread similar to a tortilla. It substitutes for bread during Passover. For the fake out matzo balls made of sourdough bread crumbs I tried to follow standard matzo directions:

1 Cup matzo crumbs
4 eggs
4 tablespoons oil or chicken schmaltz.
2 level teaspoons baking powder for soft matzo balls, omit for firm or kosher matzo balls.

Form into small balls mindful they'll double in size. In the case of sourdough bread crumbs; the crumbs were not dried, but rather, they were frozen while still fresh so they contained a measure of moisture that matzo mix does not have. I had to keep adding bread crumbs up to nearly two cups in order to get the consistency I needed to form balls. This might affect things.

chicken soup with matzo series 2


Carrot cut into uninteresting discs
Celery cut into chunks
Onion cut into chunks
Garlic clove
Bay leaf or two
Roasted chicken broth


p.t. fogger said...

So, looks like you roasted the chicken in a dutch oven type pot. What's the method? Just pop it in the oven and roast it? Is it pretty messy?

Chip Ahoy said...

fogger, it's a Magnalite pot with a metal lid and handle. It is not messy, but it is not the best vessel to use for this either. I've used it twice, and both times the bird does not brown the way I like it to even though I take off the lid for the last 20 minutes or so. I get better results using a glass casserole dish, which has the advantage of allowing you to observe progress. It's best to elevate the bird on a rack or on top of root vegetables, but I did not do that here. The bird releases liquid and then it basically bastes for an hour.

I've also done it in smoker bags, in bisque clay bowls covered with a pizza stone, and by simply covering it with tin foil. They all work.

Chip Ahoy said...

I should add, the whole process is a mess. From brining, to drying and then oiling and seasoning the raw bird, to tearing apart the cooked bird and separating useable meat from carcass, to straining the broth twice, once for big pieces of debris, and then again for finer particles. It's a big mess and because it all started with raw chicken I feel I have to wipe the entire kitchen with bleached water.

Still, it's one of my favorite things to cook.

p.t. fogger said...

Well, I know it's going to be messy, but my oven's overhead fan is busted, the fix won't happen soon, so I'm trying to cut down on the amount of smoke generated. Usually I just put a bird in an open roasting pan, which works fine, but there's plenty of spatter & smoke generated. I figured cooking it in a pot might contain that.

p.t. fogger said...

And, I'm doing it for soup; just to cook & eat. It's in the oven now. I kept it simple: 4&1/2 pound bird; browned in the pot on both sides for a while, stuff a small onion in the cavity, throw some celery & carrots in the pot with it, foil over the pot & the lid on, into the stove at 250* until it's done.

Love this blog, btw, wandered here via Althouse.

p.t. fogger said...

D'oh!! Rather, I'm not doing it for soup.

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