Chicken soup is all about home and love and warming up your innards on cold days. What’s the one thing you want to eat when you’re feeling under the weather? Chicken soup! And because it’s loaded with vegetables, it really does help you to get better. It’s loaded with nutrition and a hot mug will warm you down to your toes on a cold winter’s night.
Chicken soup, homemade and savory, is super easy to make. Ideally, you’ll start with the leftover chicken frame and meat from your homemade roast chicken but in a pinch, a rotisserie chicken will work fine. This is an easy recipe to add to your collection and one you’ll make again and again, I promise!
Oh, and there’s a secret ingredient in my recipe that takes this over the top by adding a depth of flavor you can’t get any other way. Scroll down to see what it is 🙂
Everything in the pot and on the boil. Let it cook for a few hours so it concentrates the flavors and gets every bit of yumminess out of the chicken frame.
Straining the broth from the solids.
- 1 chicken frame from your roast chicken or 1 rotisserie chicken plus wings, backs, necks, gizzards, and any other chicken parts (breasts, thighs) to make about 3 pounds total
- 4 large carrots, peeled,
- 4 stalks celery
- 2 medium onions
- 1 small bunch fresh parsley,
- ½ green cabbage
- 2 small turnips
- 2 or 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon each dried thyme and dried sage
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- filtered water to cover chicken
- leftover gravy (The Secret Ingredient!) from your roast chicken
- ½ pound cooked pasta (optional)
- chopped fresh parsley
- Put the chicken frame in a big pot. The ideal is to have a leftover chicken frame that still has some meat on it. If there's a lot of meat left, cut off what you can, chop it and set it aside. You can also use a rotisserie chicken. Just remove most of the meat, chop it and you'll add it back at the end.
- Don't throw away the chicken skin! Add it to the soup! It adds so much flavor and don't worry, you are going to skim all the fat off the top. You can also start your soup with raw chicken pieces like backs and wings and necks, etc.
- Cut 2 of your carrots into a few big pieces, do the same with 2 ribs of the celery and add to the pot. If your celery has leaves, all the better. Cut one of the onions into quarters and add to the pot. The turnips and cabbage will be added later. Add the bay leaves, sage, thyme and pepper to the pot. You'll add salt later after it's cooked down. Roughly chop all but about ¼ cup of the parsley and add that too. Cover the chicken and vegetables with filtered water.
- Turn the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down to low so your broth is simmering rather that boiling. Let it simmer, partially covered, for about 3 hours. Your house will smell delicious! Check on it from time to time and give it a stir. If it's cooked down too much you can always add some Organic Chicken Stock.
- While it's cooking, chop the remaining carrots, celery, turnips, parsley and onions into small pieces and set aside. Slice the cabbage thinly and chop into bite size pieces.
- Over the 3 hours the broth will cook down and intensify in flavor. Turn off the heat and remove all the bones and vegetables to a colander over a large bowl. Let it cool till you can handle it. Save as much of the meat as you can and set aside. Press the solids with the back of a spoon to get as much liquid as possible.
- Discard the cooked vegetables and bones. Now, you could stop right here if you wanted to make homemade chicken stock. Just cool the broth, put in containers, label and freeze. If you use glass jars, leave at least an inch of headspace so your jars don't break.
- To continue making soup put the broth that's in the bowl back in the pot. Put the fresh chopped vegetables into the broth. Bring the soup back to a boil and let the vegetables cook for about 20 minutes.
- Now, add whatever reserved chopped cooked chicken you have.
- My secret weapon and the ingredient that takes this soup way beyond ordinary is the leftover gravy! If you made gravy with your roast chicken and you happen to have any left over, put it in. It adds a depth of flavor that's just remarkable. Your soup won't be clear but it will be wonderful!
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a handful of chopped, fresh parsley.
- Cook up some noodles or pasta if you want chicken noodle soup - I like to use orzo, a small pasta that looks like an overgrown grain of rice but any kind of pasta is fine. If you use spaghetti or linguine, break the noodles in half. I keep the noodles separate from the soup until serving time because the noodles tend to absorb a lot of the broth and get soggy.
- To serve, put some warm pasta in each bowl, ladle on some soup and enjoy!
- Grate a little parmesan cheese on your soup for some added zing. My Italian husband adds a splash of red wine which really takes it to a new level! You can substitute vegetables if you like. Leeks, green beans, corn, zucchini, all would work well in this soup.
- I use my Immersion Blender to partially emulsify the soup a bit when the vegetables are cooked but before I add back the meat. I pulse it 3 or 4 times.
- I make my turkey soup exactly the same way. Depending on the size of your turkey frame, it could be enough for 2 batches of soup. Save that turkey gravy and don’t forget to add it to your soup!
Hot, nourishing, soul-satisfying Chicken Soup!