Last night I made broth from the roast chicken carcass. I covered the pieces with water and threw in my usual stash of frozen leftover carrot ends, onion ends, and celery stops, a few peppercorns, some salt, dried parsley and thyme. I let it simmer for a few hours, partially covered, then strained it and put it in a few glass jars in the refrigerator.
Tonight I pulled it out and skimmed off the hardened fat. As I threw it in the garbage, I kept thinking there must be something I could do with it. This is the curse of being a frugal cook: everything is expected to serve a purpose! Later when I made the creamed chicken, the recipe called for leftover fat from broth but I’d already tossed it! Oh well. Next time…
I was definitely winging it on the soup and it turned out great. Of course, that probably means I can never make it again but the more I wing things successfully the more confident I get about winging it again another time. Maybe the day will come when I get rid of all my cookbooks! But for now, my modus operandi (?) is to peruse a half a dozen similar recipes and then start cooking. Starting points for this included a Tortilla Soup recipe from “Feed Your Family on $10 a Day“, the soup “formula” from “How to Cook without a Book” by Pam Anderson, and a few other community cookbooks (one of my favorite things to buy at used bookstores, recipes from real non-professional cooks!).
So use this recipe as a starting point and an inspiration. Use peas instead of green beans, green zucchini instead of yellow, a bit of leftover yellow or orange or green pepper instead of red, throw in some sliced olives, add a turnip or rutabaga, use different beans or no beans, add a chopped potato or another can of a different kind of bean instead of the rice. Don’t like Mexican food? Use other spices instead of the cumin–or use nothing. Soup is the easiest thing to start making without a set recipe. I thought about adding the leftover Potatoes Romanoff to the soup, for example, to make it a creamier soup and I may do that if no one eats the leftover potatoes tomorrow. I also saw a comment on a cooking group about making up your favorite potato salad recipe with mashed potatoes rather than diced and I thought “Hmmm… I wonder what it would taste like if I started with the Potatoes Romanoff rather than plain mashed potatoes!0