Greetings! I spent the whole of my Saturday canning chicken soup from scratch. I had a look in my chest freezer and saw that I still had a bunch of chicken leg and thigh quarters in there from a 39 cents a pound sale about a year and a half ago. I bought a bunch and vacuum sealed them and tossed them in the depths of the freezer. You know, freezers are great, but they can really build up if you don't control what is in there! So I decided along with those chicken quarters, I also had some chicken soup scraps and a whole cut up chicken in there. In the pot (a giant pot) it went! Chicken, water, a couple onions, skin and all, a bunch of celery, root and all, about 4 carrots and a full head of garlic that I cut into four pieces and let it cook for about 3 hours.
Really nice stock! I removed all the chicken and picked the meat, strained the stock twice and then removed as much of the fat (schmaltz) to save for use later (don't have a cow! Schmaltz is prized chicken fat used in pastry dough and chopped liver pate'!). I then washed 14 quart jars because that is what will fit in my canner.
I put one chopped stalk of celery, one chopped carrot and 1/2 of a medium chopped onion in each jar raw. Then I topped that with shredded chicken and poured over the beautiful stock. I also added a teaspoon of salt per quart. You can choose to leave that out if you like. If you want any additional spices, now is the time to add them. I thought about adding some parsley but decided to add that when I serve it instead. I didn't want my stock to go all green on me.
I got the jars ready by burping or de-bubbling them and I wiped the rims with a paper towel dipped in white vinegar to cut down any oils or fats that ended up on the rim that could preclude a good seal. Topped them off with hot rings and lids and put them in the pressure canner that Rick had prepped for me by adding about 3 quarts of water and a cup of white vinegar.
I turned on the heat and waited for the canner to begin venting at a steady stream and then vented for at least 10 minutes. Then I placed my 10 pound weight on the pitcock and waited for the canner to come up to 10 pounds of pressure. Then I turned my heat down to medium (where I know the pressure will stay) You get to know where to set your burner on your own stove. You still need to keep a close eye on it, buy my burner set at 5 keeps my pressure right where I want it. Between 10 and 11 pounds of pressure. Set the timer for 90 minutes and wait. Stay close by so you can keep an eye on it. Remember, if your pressure drops below the recommended level for your area, you will need to restart your timer, once it gets to the proper pressure point.
By the time the soup was processed, it was bed time so I simply turned off the heat and enjoyed a little television with my family. About an hour later, before I retired to bed, I made sure that the pressure gauge was at zero and removed the weight and took the lid off and then just set it back on loosely.
The next morning I took the jars out, and let them cool on a towel on the counter and then removed the rings and washed them in hot soapy water. The chicken looked like it had fused together in some of the jars so I gave them a good shake to distribute the meat. They look great!
They looked so good in fact, that Rick and I decided to have some for Breakfast. It was delicious and rich. In fact, when I go to prepare this for dinner I will add a half a jar of water to the soup to stretch it a bit. I figure that a quart will feed my family well for a dinner with either pasta, rice, barley, noodles or dumplings added to it.
I also think that this is a great base for a quick and easy tortilla soup. I plan to add a jar of chopped tomatoes and a chipoltle pepper and simmer this then serve it with tortilla chips, cheese, Avocado and sour cream. Instant tortilla soup from food storage! Delicious!
I hope that this inspires you to give canning chicken soup a try. It sure does beat the crap that they sell in the cans at the grocery story. I'm not going to tell you it was easy, because it wasn't, but it was certainly worth it.
I hope you try it and I hope you love it!
Chicken Stock 101 Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUKnYc...
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