This is a delicious soup that has traditionally been made using leftovers. We love turning yesterday’s dinner into today’s belly-warming lunch. This version steps outside the leftovers box and goes a bit further to layer in some “scratch cooking” technique. When it comes to technique, it’s always a good idea to know the long-way before learning the shortcuts. We love to grill or smoke the chicken first to add a subtle smokey flavor to the final product, but this is entirely optional. You can even smoke your leftover bones or carcass prior to making stock, for the best chicken broth ever!
Season the chicken with the dry-brine or salt.
Heat the lard or cooking oil in a large heavy-bottom sauce pot or small stock pot and begin searing each side of the whole chicken or parts. You want as much color on the skin as possible, as this caramelization will enhance the flavor of the broth (or you can grill or smoke the chicken instead to give the broth a smokey flavor).
Combine the chicken, half the total quantity of each vegetable (saving the rest for later) the bay leaves and just the stems of the fine herbs in the pot and cover with cold water (10-12 cups or enough to submerge the chicken. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer on low for 45 minutes to an hour or until the chicken is “fall off the bone tender.”
When the chicken is done, strain the broth, chicken and vegetables through a colander set over another large pot. If you don’t have another large pot use a large bowl to catch the broth. Allow this to cool in the colander until the chicken is cool enough to handle.
While the chicken cools, remove the cloves of garlic from the head and smash them into a paste with the back of a fork and reserve for later.
Finely chop the herbs.
When cool enough to touch, pick all of the chicken off the bones shredding the breast, thigh and wing meat as you remove it. Save all of the skin and reserve for later. You should get just over a pound of meat and if you don’t want to use it all in the soup, save some for lunch tomorrow!
Put the broth back on the stove and bring to a boil. When the broth is boiling add the pasta and set a 6 minute timer.
While the pasta cooks, with a sharp knife chop all of the skin as finely as possible and combine with the garlic paste form the head of garlic. Season this paste with a pinch of salt and a dash of each of the chopped herbs and mix to combine.
After 6 minutes add the remaining vegetables, cook vegetables to “al dente” for 2-3 more minutes, then add the shredded chicken and a 1/4 cup each of the chopped herbs. Season with the flake salt, black pepper and serve with a healthy dollop of the garlic-chicken skin paste.