What to do with the bones of a smoked chicken? Or turkey, for that matter.
Make a smoked stock.
Using just the bones, a carrot, a celery, a bay leaf, some parsley, and an onion…you will have a great tasting smokey stock. A perfect base to make a warming pot of lentil soup – no meat required. A word of caution: smoked stock can be very, very strong-sort of like using Liquid Smoke. It can be very overpowering, and a little goes a long way. I tend to use a small fraction of the total stock/water from the smoked stock (like 1:8).
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 2 cups lentils
- 1/4 cup barley
- 2 to 3 cups stock
- 4 cups water
- 1 14.5 ounce can tomato sauce, or 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1 large bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons Better than Bouillion beef stock paste, optional
Saute the onions till translucent. Add the diced veggies and remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for about 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours. Add extra water if needed during the cooking process, especially if you use barley.
Season for salt and pepper and adjust. Our smoked chicken was pretty well seasoned, so only a little red pepper flakes were needed.
Honestly, this ended up tasting like a good beef and barley stew. For some reason, anything barley is always better the next day. Great for winter, and of course, it freezes well.
Note: If you want to freeze the soup, arborio rice or barley is a better option over potatoes. The potatoes tend to change texture upon thawing. Also, I really like the way that the arborio rice and the barley thicken the soup. If you use barley (which I did here), I usually cook it for an extra hour. You will also need an extra 2 to 4 cups water and probably a bigger pot.