Charcoal chicken soup base

March 10, 2010

The sidebar of this blog promises an occasional “failed recipe”, and today I am making good on the promise.  Last night I set out to turn the ravaged carcass of a roasted chicken into a delicious chicken stock soup base.  My recipe goes like this:

  • Put the leftover chicken bones, fat, and gristle into a reasonably large pot.  (If you’ve already thrown the chicken bones into the garbage, fish them out again.  They’ll be fine.)
  • Add to the pot an assortment of seasonings: peppercorns, sliced onions, a few cloves of garlic, and some chopped celery, for instance.
  • Add 6 or 8 cups of water, depending on how much stock you’d like to make.
  • Turn the heat to maximum, and leave the pot on the stove for an hour or more.
  • When the kitchen fills with smoke, remove the pot from the heat.  Allow a few minutes for it to cool.  While waiting, you might open some windows and use a towel to waft the fumes away from the smoke alarm.

You should be left with a thoroughly charred chicken carcass embedded in a thick black layer of now unidentifiable food matter.  Use a chisel to dislodge the chicken, and throw it out.

Good work.

Using this recipe means that you have a nasty cleaning job ahead of you, since the black paste, although it can be slowly scraped out, leaves a residue that resists even the most vigorous scrubbing.  To clean it, use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda: pour them into the pot and leave them for eight or ten hours.  Then scrub.  It should clean up nicely.

14 Responses to “Charcoal chicken soup base”

  1. Jim Says:

    I came close to a variant of this recipe on the weekend — while trying to roast a chicken on the bbq, I left it unattending for a few minutes and came back to find the temperature a toasty 700F. Luckily, only the chicken’s wings were actually on fire while the rest can be described as ‘savageably scorched’.

  2. cburrell Says:

    A chicken with its wings on fire! Now that is an image full of poetry.

  3. Christina A. Says:

    This chicken Jim speaks of was badly charred. “A few minutes” is in reference to time sanding walls in the basement, nowhere near the chicken he was supposed to be minding! The drumsticks were also flaming.

  4. Janet Says:

    My favorite recipe is oeufs en ciel. It’s quite simple. You just put half a dozen eggs into a pot, add enough water to cover them with at least an inch of water, put them on the stove to boil, and lay down to take a nap. The advantage to this recipe is that you don’t need to set a timer to know when they are done, because they announce their readiness with explosive reports–loud enough to wake the soundest sleeper. Once you make sure that all the eggs are ready, you can scrape them off the ceiling and they are quite tasty. Not quite as heavenly as the name implies, but if you are lucky enough to have a textured ceiling, the little bits of plaster add just the right touch of crunchiness.


  5. Maclin Says:

    This sounds great, except that I think no effort should be made to avoid setting off the smoke alarm. It adds such a festive note.

  6. cburrell Says:

    When one’s wife and child are asleep, the smoke alarm is not as festive as one might hope.

    Janet, I did not know that eggs could be prepared in that way. Fascinating. Top marks for that recipe.

  7. Janet Says:

    If y’all don’t hear from me for a long time, you can just assume I burned down the kitchen. I’ve been trying for 38 years.


  8. Janet Says:

    Well, thank you. If you think that is funny, I can teach you how to explode pizza stones.


  9. Janet Says:

    They are made out of some sort of ceramic and they are supposed to make the pizza crust crusty or crunchy or something. They’re good for cookies because the cookies get done all the way through without their bottoms being burnt. (I hope you are appreciating my alliteration.)

    If you leave them on top of the stove and then, when you put something on another burner to cook, mistakenly turn on the burner under the pizza stone instead of the burner under the pot, and go into your living room, soon you will a loud crack. The second time around, you know exactly what it is when you hear it.

    Pizza stone explosions sound different from HARD boiled egg expolsions. The egg makes a bang; the stone has a deep cracking sound with sort of ring afterwards.


  10. cburrell Says:

    I am learning a lot from this thread.

    Speaking of cooking, my wife is going to attend a bridal shower this weekend, and each attendee is asked to bring a recipe card with her favourite recipe on it, to give to the bride. My wife, who is a wonderful woman but certainly no cook, is going to take her best recipe: steamed rice. At least it turns out, most of the time.

  11. KathyB Says:

    My mom once made a variant of your recipe, Craig, involving rubber bottle nipples. In this case, the final step was repainting the ceiling, since the black film could not be removed.

    As for me, I am taking notes on your pot-cleaning method. It will come in handy.

  12. […] The sidebar of this weblog promises the occasional “failed recipe”. These do appear once in a while, but not often, mostly because I am such a good cook.  It occurs to me, however, that I might […]

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