Friday, November 22, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Soul

It's been a rough couple of weeks. Multiple surgeries, illnesses passed back and forth, and lots of sick days.

So what's a mom to do? Make homemade chicken soup, of course.

I make a lot of soup. I roast a lot of chickens. What follows, is the most basic combo of them all... traditional chicken soup for the sick soul. 

In a tradition chicken soup, the kind grandma used to make, a whole chicken would be simmered for hours in water with vegetables and herbs.  After hours of slow cooking, although a delicious broth would develop, you might find the meat and vegetables to be lacking in taste-- after all, it was their flavor that leeched out into the water during the cooking process to create that great broth.

But my chicken soup? It's a little bit different. By using the same aromatic herbs and vegetables to roast my chicken beforehand, that I will use again as ingredients in my soup, I lock all the flavors inside the meat, and preserve the taste of each individual vegetable. The pan drippings are incorporated into the broth to further intensify the flavor. The result? A perfect cure for whatever ails you.

Roast Chicken for Soup


1 whole chicken, 6lbs
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
10 sprigs of thyme
1/2 bunch Italian Parsley
1 large yellow onion, cut into eights
4 celery stalks, cut into 4 pieces each
4 carrots, cut into 4 pieces each
1/2 cup chicken stock


Preheat Oven to 400. Rub butter all over chicken, thoroughly coating the inside of the cavity as well. Generously salt and pepper both the inside and outside of the bird.  Stuff the inside of the bird with 2 thyme sprigs, 1 garlic clove, 4 parsley sprigs, and an equal amount of carrots, celery, and onions. Scatter the rest of the vegetables in the bottom of a deep roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, and chicken stock. Place chicken on top of vegetables, breast side up.

Roast for 90 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 30 minutes.

Chicken Soup


Meat from a whole chicken, removed from bones, and torn into bite sized pieces
Cooking liquid reserved and strained from chicken roasted as above
Extra Virgin olive oil
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 small leeks, halved and sliced, using only the white and light green parts
2 cups baby carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
1 small celery heart, top and bottom trimmed, chopped
The leaves of 10 thyme sprigs
1/2 bunch of Italian parsley, leaves removed
4-6 cups of chicken stock
2 cups egg noodles
Salt and pepper


Coat the bottom of a large Dutch oven with olive oil. Once ripples appear, sauté onions until just softened. Add leeks, garlic, carrots, celery, and fresh herbs, sauté. 

When all veggies are slightly tender, add reserved liquid from the roasted chicken. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add 4 cups of chicken stock, and bring liquid to a boil. Add egg noodles, amd turn heat back to low. Simmer for 10 more minutes, and add chicken once noodles are tender. At this point, depending on the type of noodles used, and the yield of liquid from your roast chicken, it may be necessary to add in more chicken broth.  I prefer a heartier soup, as it's simply easier for the kids to eat.  My husband prefers lots of broth.  Let your preference be the key, and add as little or as much as you would like, remembering that it might be a different amount each time you make the soup, depending on how 'juicy' your chicken was.  Add salt and pepper to taste. After adding liquid, bring soup to a boil once again, return to simmer, and serve.  Since flavor was developed during roasting, you don't need to spend as much time on the stove developing it, and this soup will be ready much faster than it's counterparts.

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