Why It Pays To Use Dark Meat For Your Chicken Soup

bowl of homemade chicken soup
bowl of homemade chicken soup - Nina Firsova/Shutterstock

No matter what recipe you rely on for chicken soup, any variation is going to taste delicious. Maybe you like to keep it simple and make chicken and vegetable soup with leftovers from the fridge, throw in some noodles for an easy chicken noodle soup, or kick things up a notch with spicy chicken tortilla soup. But out of all the ingredients in the pot, the shredded pieces of chicken are always the most important. And for the perfect pot of chicken soup, use dark meat instead of white because it promises more flavor in every spoonful. It's also a resourceful way to use leftover rotisserie chicken, or take advantage of the fact that dark meat is usually more affordable.

Why does dark meat offer more flavor? Because the muscles contain more red fibers and the meat has a higher fat content. Both of these factors result in a juicier and more flavorful result when it is cooked. Another perk: It's much harder to overcook dark meat because those muscles need time to break down. This makes it perfect for a long-simmering pot of soup.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

Prepping Dark Meat For Chicken Soup

Chicken soup ingredients
Chicken soup ingredients - Carlosgaw/Getty Images

How you prepare dark meat for chicken soup depends on your recipe. If you're making stock from scratch, the most flavorful method is to brown the chicken in a pan before you toss it in with the other ingredients; this will give your soup more layers of flavor. When the chicken is cooked, you can remove it, shred it, and return it to the pot. And if you're using store-bought stock, you can cook your chicken thoroughly, then add it to the pot and let it simmer until everything is warmed and the flavors are melded together. As a reminder, the chicken's internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you want to save time when it comes to the chicken in your soup, use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. You can shred apart all of the dark meat and throw it in the pot until it's warmed through. The carcass also doesn't have to go to waste, because you can use it to make a homemade stock. And to save even more time, buy store-bought mirepoix (pre-cut carrots, celery, and onion) so you don't have to chop as many ingredients.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.