Let’s make chicken soup! Your grandma knew how to do it, and you should too. Get it done with onion, carrots, and celery, plus some chicken and water. This is also the time to use one of those parmesan rinds you might have stashed in the freezer, any other root vegetables you’re tired of looking at, and tidbits of herbs.
The beauty of a simple stock like this is you get the satisfaction that comes from cooking, but since there’s no browning of onions or meat, not much mess in the kitchen! Use any kind of chicken—uncooked pieces on the bone, the carcass from last night’s roast chicken, bones from the freezer, or a mix. The more chicken, the better the flavor, up to using a whole chicken in your broth!
Basics: Chicken Soup
- 4 – 6 chicken pieces with bone, skin removed thighs and drumsticks best
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 2-4 carrots, peeled and quartered
- 2 celery stalks, quartered
- 4 sprigs Italian parsley
- 8 black peppercorns
- 1 tsp sea salt
Other optional ingredients:
- parmesan rind
- a couple branches of fresh thyme
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds or diced
- pearl couscous, cooked (or rice or noodles)
- shredded chicken from the broth
Place chicken, onion, carrots, celery, parsley and peppercorns in a dutch oven (4 – 6 quart size is good) or stockpot. Fill with water to about 2" above ingredients. Cover pot and bring to a boil on stovetop over medium-high heat, remove lid, sprinkle in the salt, reduce heat, and maintain a slow simmer for 60–90 minutes. (See next step if you want shredded chicken in your finished soup.)
Optional step: remove the chicken at 45 minutes, let cool slightly, remove meat from the bones, and set aside on a dish for later (refrigerate). Return the bones to the pot to continue cooking for the 60–90 minute total time.
Strain the solids from the broth, pressing to extract as much broth as possible. I do this by setting a colander over a large bowl, then spooning in the solids, then pouring over the liquid. Pick through the solids to save bits of meat and or carrots for your furry friends, then discard the solids.
Give the pot a quick rinse then return the broth to it. Heat to boiling, add the uncooked, diced carrots and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for a couple minutes then add the pearl couscous (or cooked rice or cooked noodles) and shredded chicken. Heat through and serve.
Recipe Notes / Tips
- While you’re prepping the vegetables, dice up a couple additional carrots (see “Soup-Time Add-ins”) and set them aside for adding to the finished soup. (The quartered carrots that make up the broth get too soft for me to enjoy them in a finished soup, but my doges LOVE to have them with their dinner…along with any long-cooked tidbits of chicken, just be careful to remove all bones.)
- You could boil the couscous (or rice or noodles) directly in the strained broth, but I find it makes the soup very starchy. I prefer to cook those things separately then add them to the broth.