Some Call It Jewish Penicillin; I Call It Simply Delicious
While looking at the empty box of tissues, the glass of orange juice, and the cold medicines sitting on my desktop, I was longing for some comfort food. This chicken soup recipe is that comfort food.
And what better medicine for a cold than homemade chicken soup? So I dragged out my cookbooks and started researching how to make quick, easy, nutritious, and delicious chicken soup. Excellent and good for you.
What the Cookbooks Say About Chicken Soup
All my cookbooks agree that great chicken soup starts with outstanding chicken stock but when it comes to making the broth, they offer a variety of choices. Some call for poaching a whole chicken in water with various chopped vegetables; others want you to remove and reserve the chicken meat while boiling the bones; some suggest you quarter the chicken, sauté it, and add water and vegetables.
My favorite recipe comes from an article in Cooks Illustrated and uses a combination of all three methods.
This is a recipe for making chicken soup from scratch, not with leftovers from last night’s roasted chicken dinner (check out my recipe for Roast Turkey Soup for an idea on how to make a leftover chicken soup).
The beauty of this soup is in its simplicity and how one bird makes one pot of soup. It calls for removing the breast meat before cooking and reserving it for final preparations. The rest of the chicken will be used for making the broth.
This is important to note because the chicken parts used to make the broth will be devoid of flavor after 45 minutes of cooking.
If you like this chicken soup recipe, check out my other recipe featuring chicken: Tortilla Soup with Shredded Chicken. Or if you don't want to go to all the fuss to make your chicken soup from scratch, check out this recipe, Cream of Chicken Soup.
Chicken Soup Recipe
- Dice the onion. Peel the carrots and cut them and the celery into ¼ to ½ inch pieces, then mince the fresh parsley leaves.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot and sauté the breasts until they are light brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the breasts and set them aside.
- Add half the onions and sauté until translucent, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Cut up the remaining chicken parts (not the breasts) into small pieces to allow them to release their juices in the shortest time possible.This is the hardest part of the recipe. If you have a meat cleaver, it makes the job easier, but if you don't, do the best you can with a chef's knife.
- Add the pieces to the pot, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until no longer pink.
- Return the onion to the pot, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken releases its juices, about 20 minutes.
- Add boiling water, reserved chicken breasts, two teaspoons salt, and bay leaves. Cover and simmer until chicken breasts are cooked, about 20 minutes. Increase the heat if necessary.
- Remove chicken breasts and set aside.
- Strain and reserve broth. Skim fat from the broth, reserving two tablespoons for cooking the vegetables.
- Add the reserved fat to the soup pot and sauté the remaining onions, carrot, and celery for about 5 minutes.
- Remove and discard the skin and bones when the chicken breasts are cool enough to handle.
- Shred the breast meat into bite-sized pieces and add to the pot. Add thyme and reserved broth; simmer until the vegetables are tender.
- Season with salt and pepper, add parsley and serve. You can add noodles, orzo, or small pasta shells and cook until tender.
Some of My Favorite Soup Recipes
- You Won't Believe This Simple Eggplant and Couscous Soup Recipe
- Braised Beans and Spinach with Pecorino Romano Cheese Recipe
- Watermelon Gazpacho Recipe
- Black Eyed Peas and Bacon Soup Recipe
- Vegetable Stock Recipe
- How to Make Cooking Stocks for Soups Stews and Sauces
- Instant Pot Black Bean Soup Recipe
- The Last Mushroom Soup Recipe You Will Ever Need
jennifer Schroeder Fawcett
First of all, I love your site. I find it to be an interesting read every time, which is something to be said with the mediocre content prevalent these days. I wanted to take a moment to share that I made this recipe for my husband as a comfort food pre-surgery. He had to eat pretty light food, so I took a chance that the broth would be robust enough on its own. It was (bonus: more yummy chicken and veggies for my servings). I added a splash of fish sauce to the vegetables and let it simmer for a minute before adding back the strained stock. I also added a few (very few) drops of fresh lime juice with the parsley before serving. I admit that I am frankly addicted to this Thai combination base, especially in chicken based soups and the freshness pairs well with the simple earthy flavor of your stock. Thank you for the great recipe.
G. Stephen Jones
Thank you Jennifer for your comments. Hope your husband's surgery went well.