A must recipe for every home cook!
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.
And what better medicine for a cold than homemade chicken soup. So I dragged out my cookbooks and started researching how to make quick and easy but nutritious and delicious chicken soup. Good and good for you.
All my cookbooks agree that great chicken soup starts with great 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; and 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.
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 prior to cooking and reserving 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.
Homemade Chicken Soup
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 whole chicken breasts removed and reserved
- 2 onions
- 2 quarts boiling water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
- Ground pepper
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 aside. Add half of the onions and sauté until translucent, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Cut up the remaining parts of the chicken (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 chefs 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, 2 teaspoons of 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 2 tablespoons to be used to cook the vegetables. Add the reserved fat to the soup pot and sauté the remaining onions along with the carrot and celery for about 5 minutes.
When the chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and bones. 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 also add noodles, orzo, or small pasta shells and cook until tender.
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