Why You Should Use Dark Meat For Chicken Soup

There are few things in the world more nostalgic and comforting than a bowl of chicken noodle soup. It's also one of those things that simply tastes better when it's homemade. Sure, there's nothing wrong with heating up a can of Campbell's with some crackers for an easy rainy day dinner, but anyone will tell you that enjoying a bowl of homemade chicken soup with some good, crusty bread is far better than any canned variety. 

Perhaps one of the key benefits to making homemade chicken soup is that you have complete control over all the ingredients, allowing you to add or omit whatever you like. You can make your chicken noodle soup in a slow cooker for incredibly tender chunks of chicken, according to Food Network, or you can cut right to the chase and prepare a fast and easy soup using rotisserie chicken, as per Southern Living. You have the final say over what goes in your soup, so you shouldn't be afraid to experiment and see what suits your tastes.

But for some chefs, you might be making a minor mistake when it comes to your chicken. You might be unknowingly holding your soup back by adding the wrong type of meat.

Dark meat offers a more robust flavor

According to Kitchn, there's a handful of things you can do to enhance the flavor of your chicken noodle soup. You can sear your chicken meat in butter and oil to draw out the flavor or you can add a rind of parmesan cheese to your broth. But one thing you should be adding to your soup is the dark meat of the chicken — the meat most commonly found around the legs and thighs. The dark meat, Kitchn explains, is much more juicy and flavorful than white breast meat and will give the soup a much heartier taste.

But what exactly makes dark meat so much better for soup than white meat? According to MasterClass, dark meat contains more "red fibers," which contain a larger amount of fat and proteins than the fibers found in the white meat. This is because dark meat is found around the legs of the chicken, where those fibers need energy (i.e. fats and proteins) for standing and moving around. White meat is leaner in fibers, and as such doesn't have that much "gamey flavor" as compared to dark meat.

This isn't to say white meat in chicken soup is bad. If you want, you can combine dark and white meat chicken in your soup or, as suggested previously, sear your chicken in order to give it a bit more flavor before adding it into the stock.