Everyone that knows me, knows I spoils my pups. That’s probably why so many have just shown up on my doorstep over the years. I think the word around town got out, that if you want live like a king, come here. And they did, one by one.
Every couple of weeks, I usually boil bag of chicken leg quarters for my dog’s Chicken Gravy with Kale And Carrots that I make and then freeze. I add this to their food each day with their dry kibble. Before I add their vegetables, I steal some of the plain broth and chicken to make one of my new favorite comfort foods, Creamy Lemon Chicken Soup (see recipe below).
So today’s ‘recipe of day’ gives you not one, but two recipes.
For about $13, I get 4 individual quarts of dog gravy which is delicious as well (if you omit the knuckles, cartilage, and make it for human consumption), and about 3 quarts of delicious creamy soup for myself.
If you don’t have dogs, skip down to the second recipe.
Chicken Gravy with Kale And Carrots – for the dogs
Time to prepare: 4+ hour project (chicken takes time to boil, and cool)
Cost: $10 to make this alone, and under $13 for both meals, with lots of leftovers
Makes: 4 quarts
1 bag chicken leg quarters (about 10 pieces) $8
2 cups small cubed carrots (I usually precut and freeze a huge bag of carrots $6 to use multiple times) $2
1-2 bunches of frozen kale (I put it in a bag prior to freezing. Break it up in the bag when frozen, hand snap the stems into smaller bites. This is so much easier than chopping, and less messy) $1.5 – $3
I don’t recommend adding rice. I used to do this as filler years ago, and the dogs became quickly overweight.
Low Boil the chicken in large stock pot (12 qt). Use lots of water. I fill mine up 4 inches from the top. Plenty of water will evaporate during this cooking process. Don’t cover. The chicken should not fall apart when scooping out, so don’t cook too long. Usually I do a few hours (3). If it does fall apart, no worries, just be sure to scoop out all bones and pieces from the broth (more work).
Scoop out chicken and place in a colander that is placed inside of another pot to catch drippings. Cover and let cool. Once cool, debone chicken. For dogs gravy, I use all the pieces, the skin, cartilage, and knuckles. Everything, minus the bones.
[The bones I set aside in a Crockpot with water and cook on high for 24 hours to soften. Once cooled, blend to make sure no bones can splinter and cut their intestines. (Be careful not to blend hot items. Your lid won’t seal, and it can explode. You’ll end up with a huge kitchen mess and possibly even burns.]
[Note: you can add other bones to the crockpot, but meat bones don’t blend well and may damage your blender. So while I may add them for cooking flavor, I will remove them prior to blending and ‘discard’. ‘Cooked’ bones may injure dog’s teeth as they become harder during this process.]
This way the whole chicken is used, and they get all the marrow, calcium, and other nutrients too. Nothing goes to waste. If I don’t want to bother with the crock pot, I’ll freeze the bones and wait till the next batch and do them at the same time.
Then if I wanted to make something for myself, a sandwich, or some soup…. I keep some of the best parts of the chicken and set that side, if not, the dogs get it all.
When you are making the soup below, take out 12 cups of broth for yourself. Then add the kale and carrots and cook for ½ hour to soften. Turn off to cool.
Take the deboned chicken pieces and equally divide into 4 separate plastic quart containers with lids. (freezable/microwaveable/recyclable)
When the vegetable broth has cooled, use a measuring cup with handle to scoop even amounts into the four containers of shredded chicken pieces.
Allow containers to cool before putting lids on tightly and stacking them in freezer. Leaving one in the fridge for morning. When I finish one, I take another one out in the morning and set it on a plate on the counter overnight to thaw. Refrigerate container after each morning breakfast. Then reheat in microwave for next day, 4 minutes usually is not too hot.
I’ve got a lot of dogs (8), and one container last 2 ½ – 3 days. Plus the pureed bones is an extra container that I either combine with th regular gravy or give it to them separately.
You’ll have some very happy dogs, but remember, changing their diet may cause gas. This will go back to normal once they adjust to the new diet.
Now for my favorite.
If you don’t have dogs, and want to just make ‘just the soup’, you can start from scratch and follow the directions below.
As I Iove a local NC restaurant’s version of this Creamy Lemon Chicken Soup, and had been craving it for weeks, I recently went in to purchase some and found the price had significantly increased since the last time I bought it. Now it was $7 for a small bowl and they didn’t sell in bulk for a family. I thought…. That is way out of my budget, and I was still hungry afterwards.
Though I usually had dined in, this time, I got a ‘to go’ order, and it came in a polystyrene foam container (my pet peeve). While the FDA (whom I don’t really trust) says some of the containers are safe, others are toxic to reheat in, and leaching can occur. This is potentially concerning as styrene has been identified as a cancer-causing agent. Just as bad they take about 500 years to break down in landfills, and worse they are digested by marine life when they get dumped in the ocean.
I’d rather skip it and bring my own re-useable containers for a doggy bag to go. I could go on and on about this topic, but let’s save that for another discussion and get back to ‘talk soup’.
When I realized that this was likely my last bowl of soup from the resturant ‘ever’, I decided to see if I could make it myself. I went on the internet and grabbed one of the first recipes I saw (here). As I was making the dogs gravy anyway… it was perfect timing as I could use their broth.
I followed ‘her’ directions exactly (minus the vegetables), and found her soup to be rather boring, and I could barely taste any lemon. Not even comparable to the restaurants creamy and lemony flavor, but maybe that wasn’t what she was going for. Whatever was her intention, it wasn’t mine.
So I added quite a few more ingredients and created my own take on her version, and while not identical to the restaurants style, it was pretty darn close. It satisfied my cravings, so much that I had two bowls. To go for second serving… it was that good!
My guy said mine was even better than the restaurants. Now that’s a compliment I wasn’t expecting!
The next time I made it, I made a larger batch. I also kept track of the measurements instead of winging it like I had the first time, and I added quinoa to the dish. It turned out amazing, and now I can share it with you!
If you want to make a smaller batch, cut the ingredients in half / a larger batch, double the ingredients. Too lemony… cut back a tbsp and make it to your liking. Creamier, add more flour. I prefer more liquid and less fillers. But you may want more rice, or more chicken.
You can alter this to fit you. After all, we each have taste buds that are unique.
Remember: fresh ingredients is always best, but it still will be delicious if you use what you have available.
Creamy Lemon Chicken Soup
Makes: 8 large bowls
Costs: approx $6 with ingredients listed below.
Cook time: ½ hour if all ingredients are ready and prepped.
Hopefully you already have most of the ingredients in your cupboards and fridge. If you have to buy it all, obviously the price increases. The only thing I had to buy was an $8 bag of chicken which will make more meals than just this soup.
As a prepper, I usually buy food, and condiments in bulk as it not only saves you money, but many items if stored correctly, have a long very shelf life and store easily for long term emergencies (rice, flour, quinoa, bottled lemon juice, seasonings. Even pastas, and sugar though we didn’t add those to the soup).
If you substitute using boxed chicken broth, or rotisserie chicken, etc… you will pay ‘a lot’ more to make this soup. So stick to the ‘from scratch’ version… you won’t be sorry.
$$ estimates below are not exact and based off of bulk prices.
4 pieces of full chicken leg quarters. (A large bag of 10 pieces costs around $8 at most stores, I froze the rest). $3.50
3 quarts water (or 12 cups premade chicken broth, fresh with oils, from your dog’s broth) $ free
1/3 cup rice (regular or long grain) $.10
1/3 cup quinoa (optional – this is gluten free super food, packed full of protein, potassium, iron, and fiber so it’s good to eat it when you can) $.30
2 eggs $.30
5 tbsp lemon juice, fresh or bottled. (Use what you have. I had bottled). $.05
1 ½ cup milk, or half and half $.55
(I use the half and half as I always have that in the house for coffee anyway. It’s ½ milk and ½ cream, and it makes it thicker and creamier)
1/3 cup all purpose flour for thickening. (this mixes in with milk and depends on the thickness you desire. Use more flour will create an even thicker soup). $.05
2 tbsp parsley & 2 tbsp oregano (fresh is best, but use what you have) $.02
2 lg chicken bullion cubes $.10
2 tbsp chicken bullion powder $.15
1 ½ tbsp lemon pepper seasoning $.10
1 tsp salt, or less $.01
1 tsp black pepper $.03
Boil chicken legs in 3 quarts water on medium high (gently boiling) for approx 2 hours. I use a large stockpot so no chance of overflowing. (The higher temperature you boil, the more will evaporate, so keep your eye on it and don’t try to rush it, turn it down). Remove the thoroughly cooked chicken and place in colander inside of another large sauce pot to catch drippings. Cover and let chicken cool to touch. Leave broth simmering.
When chicken is cool (1/2 hr +), debone the 4 leg quarters: remove skin, keep all the meat from the chicken. I hand shredded/pulled half the chicken meat for this soup (1 1/2 cups), and saved the rest for sandwiches.
Down size containers: Take the broth from the huge pot and add it to the large sauce pot with drippings and put that on low boil. Once boiling, add your rice, quinoa, parsley, and oregano. Stir, then cover and low boil for 20 minutes, stirring twice to keep it from sticking.
While rice is cooking, prep other ingredients.
In bowl, add 2 eggs and ½ the lemon juice and whisk. Set aside.
In bowl, take flour and 1/3 of the milk and use fork to combine. Work out all the lumps before adding the rest of the milk to bowl. Set aside.
When rice is done, turn it down till its stops boiling, on a low-medium setting. ‘Do not’ let soup boil again from this point.
Get a ladle of the hot soup and ‘slowly’ drizzle into the egg mixture while stirring constantly. This is called tempering. I do this with two full ladles. Then slowly add that egg mixture to the soup, in the same manner, stirring it consistently.
Next break up the bullion cubes with fingers so it dissolves faster, add the rest of the seasonings, and the remainder of lemon juice. Keep stirring until is all dissolved.
Next add your milk/flour mixture. Stirring slowly until it starts to thicken (10 mins). Add your chicken, lower the heat to simmer, and stir.
Most of the heavy stuff (rice and chicken) will be on the bottom, so be sure to scoop from down below when serving.
This is a great article about how to make healthy meals for dogs with wholesome ingredients. The inclusion of a recipe for a delicious Creamy Lemon Chicken Soup for humans is a bonus.
Thanks Top Dog 🙂