Help! Why Did My Chicken Soup Turn Into Jell-o?

published Jan 3, 2011
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Q: For Christmas I received a Lodge cast iron Dutch oven and took the opportunity on my snowed-in Monday to roast my first chicken. On Tuesday I made a very simple first soup. The soup came out pretty good, if I do say so myself, but when I put them into the fridge for the night they turned gelatinous!

While this helps me on my way to work (because at least then it won’t leak on the subway), I know it will kind of gross out my boyfriend, who is picky enough without seeing a Tupperware of soup jello. I made sure to skim the fat as I prepared the chicken broth so it’s not very oily when it’s liquid. I just don’t know what could have gone wrong. I’m new to soup so I don’t know even where to start!

Sent by Erin

Editor: Erin, congratulations! You have made a really excellent chicken soup, full of all the goodness left in your chicken. When you simmer a fresh chicken — complete with bones, skin, and meat — you extract the collagen from the bones. This collagen in the bones is what is causing your soup to gel. It’s completely natural, and it only happens in rich, well-made chicken stock.

It can be a little freaky, though, if you’re not expecting it! The good news is that this thick, gelled stock is extra-rich. If you want to thin it out for your boyfriend, go ahead. Simmer the soup with two or three extra cups of water or storebought chicken broth. It will help the soup last longer, and it shouldn’t thin out the flavor too much.

Readers, any other advice for Erin and her chicken soup?

Related: Soup of the Day: Chicken Soup, Four Ways

(Image: Rebekah Peppler – Chicken Stew with Kale and Cannellini Beans)