I felt a cold coming on, and I had a craving for some homemade chicken soup. I browsed the Internet for recipes and ended up with my own variation. I picked up a whole chicken, some vegetables, and a couple of cans of chicken broth for a little added flavor.
The following recipe is for the chicken stock, and then the soup. I discarded the vegetables after making the stock, and then used fresh vegetables for the soup. You don’t have to do that if you don’t want to, but I think the flavor cooks out of the vegetables into the stock, so you get a nice full flavor of fresh vegetables in the soup. Thus, the reason for the large chunks of vegetables. This makes it easier since you will strain the vegetables and discard them.
If you want to cut corners, instead of making your own stock you can use 2 quarts of chicken broth or chicken bouillon. If you don’t want to make your own stock, skip the first part and go on to the chicken soup recipe. I was in the mood to make my own stock, and this is the recipe that I came up with:
whole chicken, approx. 3-5 lbs
3 ribs of celery, cut in large chunks
2 medium onions, quartered
1/2 pound baby carrots, whole (or 3 large carrots cut in large chunks)
2-3 quarts of water, enough to cover
1 head of garlic, halved
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
4 fresh thyme sprigs, or just use 1 tsp of dried thyme
handful of flat leaf parsley, or again you can throw in some dried parsley
2 bay leaves
Directions for Chicken Stock
Place chicken and vegetable in a tall soup or stock pot, 8 to 12-quarts. Cover with cold water. Add thyme, parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns. Slowly bring to boil, then let simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. You want the chicken to start falling off the bone. Skim the foam off periodically and add more water, if necessary, to keep the chicken covered.
Remove the chicken from the pot and place on a plate. Cool, then discard skin and pull meat from bones. Shred some of the chicken and cut some into bite-sized chunks.
Place a fine sieve over another pot and strain the stock. Discard vegetables. Use stock immediately or freeze for later use.
Ingredients for Chicken Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 bag of baby carrots or 2-3 large carrots, cut into 1/2″ thick slices
3 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2″ thick slices
4 fresh thyme sprigs (or 2 tsp dried thyme)
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2-3 quarts chicken stock, recipe above
1-2 cans chicken broth if needed for more flavor*
3 or 4 small potatoes, peeled and quartered OR 1/2 pound dry wide egg noodles
1 whole tomato, peeled and chopped (or add a small can of diced tomatoes)*
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
salt and pepper to taste
* Optional – Use your imagination. Throw in your leftover peas, green beans, corn, whatever flavors you’d like to have in your soup. I always add extra celery, but since no one else in the family likes celery, I cut it into larger pieces so they can remove it.
Directions for Chicken Soup:
Heat olive oil in large pot. Add chopped onions, minced garlic, sliced carrots and celery. Cook on medium heat for 6 minutes, until vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in chicken stock, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Add potatoes and simmer until potatoes are tender. If you prefer noodles, either cook them separately or cook in soup until tender.
I pretty much went through my refrigerator to see what else I could throw into the chicken soup. I found an over ripened tomato, so I peeled it, chopped it up and threw it in the pot.
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