A rotisserie chicken just may be the best grocery store shortcut on the planet. Pick one up and you're looking at multiple stress-free dinners and lunches. When it comes to making a quick pot of soup, it's a no brainer — having the meat already cooked means that you can have a slow-simmered taste in no time. Here are five tips to utilize rotisserie chicken in your weeknight soup routine.
1. Buy plain rotisserie chicken.
That herb-crusted rotisserie chicken may look tempting at the grocery store, but your best bet for soup is to go with the plain one. That way you can add the ingredients you want to your soup pot without having to worry about any different flavors interfering.
Get a recipe: Chicken Lentil Soup
2. Shred it all and freeze what you don't need.
You can get about four-and-a-half cups of shredded meat from a rotisserie chicken. While you might not need all of that meat for your soup, it will be a helpful thing to have the next time you make a pot. Place whatever shredded chicken you don't need in an airtight container or freezer bag and stick it in the freezer for next time. It will keep for up to four months and can be added directly from frozen into the soup pot.
3. Add the meat to the pot just before serving.
Since the chicken is already cooked, it really just needs to be warmed up. Avoid adding it early on in the soup-making process, as the meat could dry out. Instead, add it when the soup is almost done to warm it up without overcooking it.
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4. Mind the salt.
Eat a piece of that rotisserie chicken as is and you'll notice that it's pretty well-seasoned and sometimes even salty. That means you can usually get away with adding less salt or no salt to the soup pot since the salt from the meat will seep into it. Taste the soup after simmering the chicken in it and add more salt if needed.
5. Don't forget to use the carcass and skin.
The beauty of a rotisserie chicken is not just its meat, but also its carcass and skin. Use both to make a quick chicken stock before adding the other soup ingredients in, and if you happen to have an extra carcass lying around, go ahead and make an extra pot of stock to freeze for another day.
Get a recipe: Weeknight Rotisserie Chicken and Gnocchi Soup