If Life Hands You Chicken, Make Soup!

@Raelove (15177)
Saco, Maine
March 2, 2016 8:50am CST
I couldn't resist the price--$1.79 a pound--of the boneless skinless chicken breasts at Marketbasket yesterday, so I bought a small package of them. I repackaged and froze most of it and used about a pound to make chicken-noodle soup. In the past, my homemade soups were always too brothy and watery for me. But since I learned to make a beurre manie, which is a mixture of soft butter and flour, my soups have been thick and much richer. Beurre manie is a cooking technique that is much like a roux, but instead of starting a sauce with it, it's added at the end of the cooking. It works on the same principle as a thickener made with cornstarch and cold water, but it adds much more flavor and smoothness to the soup. You take equal parts of soft butter and flour and blend them together in a small bowl to make a paste. Then you add small amounts of it to the simmering soup and stir until it thickens to the consistency you like. You can store extra beurre manie in the fridge for a couple of days to use later. It's my go-to method now when I want to thicken a soup or stew. (Public Domain Image)
15 people like this
14 responses
• United States
2 Mar 16
I am not all that sure about adding butter to chicken soup. I work hard to make soup that has no 'fat' in it. I could see it in stew.
2 people like this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
2 Mar 16
It works in either soup or stew, and you would not believe the flavor boost the butter gives the soup. In a big pot of soup, you're only using a tablespoon of butter. So the fat content is 100 calories distributed through almost 2 quarts of soup, which is minimal. Not sure how you make soup with no fat in it at all, as all soup bases, stocks, broths, do contain some fat. Unless you use vegetable broth, which does not.
2 people like this
• United States
2 Mar 16
@Raelove I make burgers with no fat in them so I can make soup that way too. I don't use a bought base to make soup, I make my own stock and use meat or chicken with no fat at all. I have to be extremely careful what I eat. To me chicken soup is chicken, carrots, celery and either rice or noodle. Just the basic chicken soup. That's what I can handle.
3 people like this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
2 Mar 16
@AbbyGreenhill I'm not sure how you make a fat-free burger. All meat has some fat content, some more, some less. Do you use vegetable protein to make your burgers?
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Mar 16
Now that is a convenient way to make chicken into something edible !
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
3 Mar 16
Yes, it is. It works like a charm, and is so delicious.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Mar 16
@Raelove it is darn too bad for me (as I used to love chicken) that my blood type AB cannot metabolize the proteins in it, so I substitute turkey which also makes a really good soup, stew etc !
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
4 Mar 16
@enlightenedpsych2 This method of thickening works with any type of soup or stew. Try it the next time you make turkey soup!
1 person likes this
@fishtiger58 (30304)
• Momence, Illinois
2 Mar 16
I have used that as well to thicken soups. Have to add slowly or you get a dumpling lol.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
2 Mar 16
Lol, yup! I sometimes melt the butter in the microwave, so it blends even more smoothly with the flour. I then add it at a rate of about a teaspoon at a time, and the soup has to be very hot for it to dissolve right away.
1 person likes this
@fishtiger58 (30304)
• Momence, Illinois
2 Mar 16
@Raelove and when I actually want dumplings they come out badly lol.
2 people like this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
2 Mar 16
@fishtiger58 LOL. I haven't made them in years. Dumplings are something you have to eat fresh and hot. Otherwise, they get soggy. So I probably won't be making them anytime soon. But that's the way with some things: when you want them to turn out, they don't!
1 person likes this
@just4him (89326)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
4 Mar 16
I've never heard of that. Thank you.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
4 Mar 16
You're welcome. I find it works best on a soup or stew with a very thin watery broth by adding both substance and flavor.
1 person likes this
@just4him (89326)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
4 Mar 16
@Raelove I bet it does. When I make anything like that, it's watery. Now I know how to fix the problem.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
4 Mar 16
@just4him Yup. You just have to remember to add it a little at a time until it's as thick as you want it. And the broth has to be bubbling hot so the flour will dissolve right away.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (114391)
• Boise, Idaho
3 Mar 16
My grandmother used to always have soup brewing on the back of the old wood burning stove in her kitchen. It was usually a chicken neck and left over veggies. She always fed whoever came around and was used to doing this since the thirties. This thickening sounds interesting but I don't think I'd use it in soup.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
3 Mar 16
I don't see why not. Many ready-to-serve canned soups today have thick broth, so they are using a thickener. You would be surprised at how how rich and creamy this soup is. Here's a link that gives more information on it.
A few weeks ago we sent our first newsletter and I made a painful typo – I referred to Beurre Manié as Beurre Maine.  Apparently I decided it was time to change ‘kneaded butter’ into something that was French New England Butter. Ooops. Beurre Manié is easy
2 people like this
@celticeagle (114391)
• Boise, Idaho
3 Mar 16
@Raelove ....Better to make your own than the store stuff. I just don't like thickened soup.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
3 Mar 16
@celticeagle I do as long as it's not canned. The last few I tried were horrible. No flavor at all. Easy enough to make my own and I know I'll like it.
@marlina (60950)
• Canada
2 Mar 16
Thanks for the explanation of what a "beurre manie" means.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
2 Mar 16
You're welcome. It's a great technique, and gives a sauce or gravy a much more velvety consistency.
1 person likes this
@marlina (60950)
• Canada
2 Mar 16
@Raelove It does sound like something Julia Child would do.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
2 Mar 16
@marlina I do remember her doing it. Other TV cooks have done it, too.
@JudyEv (97322)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Mar 16
That sounds a good way to thicken soup. I've done similar but not quite in this manner. I buy meat when it's on special and freeze portions too.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
3 Mar 16
I couldn't resist that price. And I love chicken made in so many different ways. Boneless is so easy to work with, too, as there is absolutely no waste at all.
2 people like this
@marlina (60950)
• Canada
3 Mar 16
@Raelove True, I like to make chicken fingers.
1 person likes this
@much2say (34688)
• United States
3 Mar 16
I know what a roux is, but not beurre manie! Ok, I gotta try this - my chicken soups are always too brothy!! My father in law used to make the best soups but he passed on without writing down his everyday recipes - but I think he said he used to make a roux. But I've always been too lazy to do it. I wonder what the difference in taste is vs the beurre manie. And of course butter makes everything taste good
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
3 Mar 16
If you start with a roux, the flavor of the butter dissipates as you cook the first ingredients in it. If you add the beurre manie at the end, all the other flavors have developed, and the butter flavor is passed directly on to the broth. Notice the canned soups that you buy nowadays, the ready-to-eat ones. The broth is thick and rich, not watering. I suspect that if you work a tablespoon or two of the butter-flour paste in at the end of your soups, you will be pleasantly surprised at how good they turn out and taste.
1 person likes this
@much2say (34688)
• United States
3 Mar 16
@Raelove That's true. Sometimes you see this bit of "skin" floating at the top before you heat it up - perhaps that is a bit flavored fat - maybe it is butter. Well I'm going to try this for sure. I've done the cornstarch thing too, and that will definitely thicken the soup, but it doesn't really add to the flavor.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (118731)
• Switzerland
2 Mar 16
I usually make a beurre manié to thicken sauces, while I use cornstarch (and no butter) to thicken soups.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
2 Mar 16
I've used cornstarch, too. But the beurre manie adds so much more flavor.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (118731)
• Switzerland
3 Mar 16
@Raelove I avoid to use the butter as much as I can, my husband should not consume dairy products, so the cornstarch is a good solution.
1 person likes this
• Lakewood, Colorado
2 Mar 16
I love making soups Rachel. I too add thickener, with flavor, to the soup at the end when I boil at very high heat and then add the flavoring. I like your way of doing it. I dont add butter because of calories. I always add Bisto flavoring.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
2 Mar 16
It only calls for about 1 tablespoon of butter. So in a big pot of soup, that's not much at all. Never heard of Bisto.
1 person likes this
• Lakewood, Colorado
2 Mar 16
@Raelove Oh only one tablespoon? Thats not harmful then. Bisto is a gravy mix but is quite healthy compared to bullion. It is powder mix but of course can only be bought on Amazon where I live..it is English.
• United States
2 Mar 16
I always enjoy learning something new and never knew about a beurre manie
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
2 Mar 16
I think I learned it from one of the Barefoot Contessa episodes. She used it to thicken a stew of some type. A lot easier than using a roux, I think.
@Corbin5 (79022)
• United States
2 Mar 16
I would not know how to make chicken soup. I am not a fan of cooking, but my husband would be delighted with your chicken soup. He should make some for himself since I am a vegetarian. He has the time.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
2 Mar 16
I'm sure he would. Mine doesn't call for anything fancy, just some garlic, onion, celery and carrots sauteed in oil. Then he'd add the cubed chicken, season it, and cook till it loses its pink color. Next, he would add some stock or broth. I used bouillon cubes this time to about a quart of water, or I've used a quart of premade stock. Bring that a boil, simmer for a bit, and then add some egg noodles. At this point, I also add some parsley and sage, and I cook till the noodles are tender. I finish it with the flour and butter paste, and add a bit at a time till it gets to the thickness I like. He could make you a vegetable soup the same way using vegetable broth and thicken the soup with flour and margarine.
@silvermist (15816)
• India
2 Mar 16
@Raelove I have never done this .I think,I will try your method one of these days.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
2 Mar 16
It's very easy and simple. You just add it to the broth at the end of making the soup.
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (31826)
• Denmark
2 Mar 16
My husband likes soup, I don't. My impression is that it fills the stomach without being substantial.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15177)
• Saco, Maine
2 Mar 16
Some soups are definitely not very filling. But this one is, as it's closer to a stew once it's thickened and the noodles have cooked. It's a one-pot meal: meat, vegetables, noodles, and a nice thick sauce. I find watery soups not filling at all, which is probably why they are so often served as a first course in restaurants.