Last night I made fried chicken. I had bought a whole chicken, of course, being cheaper, so while I was fixing the rest of dinner I threw the neck, gizzards, and back into a small saucepan, added an old carrot, some celery, half an onion, some pepper and a bit of thyme and brought it to a simmer. I left it simmer until we had cooked, eaten, and mostly cleaned up dinner. I strained the broth and poured it in an old pickle jar. Left in the refrigerator overnight, the fat solidified at the top and was easy to remove.
Tonight I sauteed the other half of the onion, chopped, in a bit of oil, then added a grated carrot, a grated yellow squash, and some leftover collard and turnip greens from last night’s dinner. Then I added the chicken broth from last night.
Looking through the refrigerator I spied a bit of leftover baked beans and added that as well. I let everything simmer for a few minutes. Grated vegetables cook pretty quickly. I tasted and added some pepper and salt and threw a quarter cup of grits in to thicken up the soup.
It’s a soup that will never come out the same way twice, but if you taste as you go along and get a bit creative, you’ll easily have good soup with little effort and almost no cost! This would have good with just water if you didn’t have any broth. Maybe add some grated cheese.
Other leftovers that are good in soups:
- bits of leftover vegetable: try carrots, celery, squash, greens, corn, tomatoes, onions, green beans, etc.
- bits of bacon
- chopped cooked meat
- beans of nearly any kind
- potatoes (scalloped potatoes make a great soup!)
- cheese sauce
- tomato sauce
- cooked grits or barley (or add raw and simmer until cooked)
You don’t want to add too many things or it gets a bit murky. But I find that half a dozen different things seems to work well, as does fewer things.
Taste and season near the end. Add your favorite herbs: parsley, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, etc.