Oven Roasted Chicken, Homemade Broth & Sweet Potato Soup

baked chickenMy supply of chicken broth was dwindling.  I keep chicken and beef broth in the freezer in pint sized mason jars so it’s always available with a quick thaw.  Thus this week’s grocery list included an organic whole cut-up chicken.  A colder than normal, drizzly day was the perfect time for roasted chicken and the bones provide the main ingredient for easy chicken bone broth.  It was also a great day for soup so I made our absolute favorite Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon.

I roast chicken the way my mom has done ever since I can remember and it is so easy.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place a sheet of foil on a baking sheet topped with a baking rack to keep the chicken out of the grease.  Lay out the chicken pieces skin side up and season generously with salt, pepper and paprika (I use Penzeys Smoked Spanish Style Paprika).   Flip so the skin side is down and season the other side (I do it this way so it finishes cooking skin side up for yummy, crispy skin).   Cook for 30 minutes, flip and cook for another 30 minutes until done.  Let stand for 5 minutes to retain juices.

While the chicken is cooking, make the Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon from Well Fed 2.  In the cookbook version Melissa uses 1 teaspoon of her Lebanese Seven-Spice Blend instead of the Ras el Hanout seasoning in the website version.  I haven’t made it with the Ras, but its awesome with the Lebanese blend (unfortunately she hasn’t posted that spice recipe on her blog so you need the cookbook for it).   I am sure it tastes fantastic either way as the blends are very similar and include most of the same spices.  We are bacon fans so I usually dice up and cook the entire 12 oz package of bacon to make sure we have plenty to sprinkle.  I have used both a food processor and my new Breville blender to puree the soup and prefer the blender for a really smooth soup.sweet potato soup

The chicken is crispy, juicy and delicious and the soup is amazing and very filling.  Leftovers work great for lunch.

After dinner I put all of the chicken bones and drippings from the baking sheet into a pressure cooker and made broth based on NomNomPaleo’s Quick Pressure Cooker Bone Broth.  You can check out this recipe and more on the NomNomPaleo iPad app.  Whenever I am cleaning celery and have leaves and small excess pieces or when celery is about to go bad, I store it in the freezer to use for bone broth.  If I don’t have celery I use extra carrots and if I don’t have carrots I use extra celery.  It’s very flexible.

  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 medium carrots cut into 3 pieces
  • 2 celery stalks cut into 3 pieces
  • bones from a whole chicken
  • 8 cups of water (enough to fill the pressure cooker to 2/3 full)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Red Boat Fish Sauce (this gives it flavor and does not make it taste fishy)

Put all ingredients into pressure cooker and close the lid.  Cook over medium high heat until it reaches high pressure, then reduce to lowest setting (usually simmer works) to maintain high pressure for 50 minutes.  Remove from heat and let pressure normally release.  Remove the lid, remove the big pieces with a slotted spoon and strain the broth.  I usually strain it with a wire mesh strainer over a 4 cup glass measuring cup so it’s easy to pour.  Pour into 6 pint sized mason jars.  I leave it in the refrigerator overnight and spoon off any fat that has risen to the top (usually there isn’t with chicken broth).  Store in the freezer.broth

When it’s time to use the broth, if I am thinking ahead I will defrost it in the refrigerator overnight.  I often forget to think ahead so usually just defrost it in a sink of hot water which generally takes less than half an hour.

I make beef broth in a similar fashion.  Take a couple of pounds of beef soup bones and sear them well in coconut oil before throwing in all the same ingredients for the chicken stock and following the same directions.  Usually with the beef stock there is a ring of fat that you can pop off the top before putting it into the freezer.  If I want to take the time, I will roast the beef bones instead of searing (400 degrees for 40 minutes) which also gives the broth a rich flavor.

Dinner, broth, done.  Feeling accomplished!