Friday, January 21, 2011

The Food Desert Project - Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup for the Soul

When I first posted this recipe on LTHForum, some readers reacted with horror:  used bones?  I am apparently not alone in horrifying friends with my Barbara Kafka-like tendency to "snatch bones from plates."  However, as time-honored as the tradition of using bones in soup is, I haven't found specific food-safety advice: I did send a request for information to the FSIS, and will update this post* when I get an answer.

In the meantime - feel free to share this meal with someone you'd swap spit with anyway; it's infinitely better (and better for you) than canned stock or a bouillon cube.  For a Food Desert dweller, this recipe ranges a little outside the realm of drug/dollar stores...but fast-food places, particularly chicken places, are one of those "fringe foods" of the food desert that I've written about.  This is a way to get a bit of healthy mileage out of a not-so-healthy meal.


Leftover chicken bones from a large order of chicken wings, rinsed
(Or leftovers from a fried chicken meal, including breast, back and wing bones - you need at least enough bones to fill a gallon ziploc bag - we usually eat wings, put the bones in said ziploc, freeze them, and make soup later)
2 ribs of celery from said order of wings - and 2 carrot sticks if avail. (or a pinch of celery seed)
1/4 cup of canned diced tomatoes, or spaghetti sauce, or fresh grape tomatoes, halved
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp onion flakes
1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
Salt to taste (start with 2 tsp, taste when it's close to finished and add salt as needed)
Pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients together in the largest pot you have (or your slow cooker; cook on high for 8 hours) and add water, covering at least 2" deeper than the depth of the bones.  Simmer for 4-5 hours, taste and adjust the seasoning.  Strain, discarding solids. (Before I got my lovely cast-iron casserole for Christmas, I would do this in my multi-pot with the pasta drainer insert; all you have to do is lift out the insert and toss everything in it)

I usually freeze my stock in an ice-cube tray and transfer the "soup cubes" to ziploc bags or another freezer-safe container.  Sparky has a horror of hot foods; "soup cubes" are a handy way to cool down soup without watering it down.

Of course, it can go right into the final dish:

Simple Buffalo Chicken Noodle Soup

To every 2 cups of stock, add 1/4 cup of canned diced tomatoes, 1 tsp of wine vinegar, and 1/2 cup of dry pasta.  In keeping with the Buffalo Wing theme, season with a tiny pinch of celery seed and some chili flakes.

Cook according to directions on pasta package.  If you've got any meat left over, add it just before the pasta is cooked.


* The Ask Karen service got back to me the same day!  Nice work, FSIS!

Here's the transcript:

Is it safe to make stock from leftover bones that have come in contact with someone's mouth?

Discussion Thread  Response (Ask Karen) 01/21/2011 05:26 PM 

Thank you for writing Ask Karen.
If you heat the stock to 160 degrees you will kill any bacteria that might have gotten on the bones.

the Ask Karen Team


Melissa Graham said...

Oddly enough, I'm using a leftover steak bone that I froze back in December as an addition to the beef stock I'm making tonight. I think, especially if you're only making it for your family, who's going to complain? You swap enough germs regularly.

Michele Hays said...

Frankly, until I got a reaction, I never thought about it - but I'm not about to throw beautiful stock bones away!

It was good to find out that there wasn't a risk of "poisoning" hapless dinner guests, though! :-)

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