I am of the definite opinion that chicken soup made with a chicken that has already been roasted is infinitely more tasty than one made with an uncooked chicken. It has richer, deeper flavors. Plus, it’s a 2-for-1 deal – after roasting a chicken, and with hardly any extra work at all, you additionally end up with a pot of soup a day or two later. When I found myself with a roast duck recently, I figured I would try making a soup using the same method.
1 carcass and bones (plus the neck) of a roasted 4.5 pound duck
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
1/2 very large onion, peeled and cut into wedges
1 carrot, cut into 2″ pieces
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
6-8 black peppercorns
12 cups water
I put the pot over a medium-high flame until it reached a boil, then turned the flame down so it was between a simmer and a gentle boil. After a few minutes I skimmed off the foam that had risen to the surface, then covered it partially and left it to cook softly (checking every so often to make sure it wasn’t boiling too rapidly).
After 2 hours or so, the broth looked dark and ducky and smelled good. I carefully emptied the pot into a colander that was set into a large bowl to strain the soup. I pulled off the little bit of duck meat that remained on the carcass and set it aside in the refrigerator. I discarded all the solids (the duck carcass and all the vegetables) and returned the broth to the cooking pot. I was left with a golden broth whose little pockets of fat made the surface shimmer as if it was dusted with a million little sequins. I put the pot into the refrigerator overnight to chill. The next day, I scooped off much of the thin layer of fat that sat on the surface of the soup with a spoon (it had hardened as it cooled in the fridge).
2 red-skinned potatoes, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
2 carrots, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
3 large handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped fine
reserved duck meat, chopped into bite sized pieces
I reheated the soup and let it cook for 10 minutes or so, until all the vegetables were tender and the duck meat was heated. I added salt. I ate duck soup. It was very like chicken soup looked at under a microscope – it was poultry personified, like chicken but more so – gold and green and satisfying and perfect on the first really warm Spring day of the year.
-Use more (or less) garlic or onion.
-Use different aromatic vegetables when making the broth, such as parsnips or celery.
-Add different vegetables to the finished broth, such as sliced mushrooms or zucchini.
Add rice or a tiny pasta such as orzo, to make a more substantial soup.