My homemade chicken soup recipe isn’t usually something that I’m thinking about during the summertime. I love soup, but it’s generally reserved for cold, rainy weather, when I’m looking for something warm and hearty to perk me up during the short days of winter. This week, though, I was felled by one of my top ten pet peeves: the summertime cold virus. I woke up to aches, pains, and one of the worst sore throats I’ve ever experienced – all while it’s 90 degrees outside. Gross!
After a throat culture confirmed that I did not have strep, I dug up my old homemade chicken soup recipe and made a gallon’s worth, enough to last me a few days. I swear, this is the best thing to eat when you’ve got a cold – packed with ick-fighting ginger, garlic, and vegetables, chicken soup will cures whatever ails you. I muster my energy and make enough to feed myself through the inevitable week of sore throats and runny noses. If I’m planning ahead, I make a gallon and freeze some for emergencies.
If you’re preparing this dish during the winter when celery and bell peppers are out of season, replace them with winter root vegetables, such as parsnips and turnips. Otherwise, feel free to use frozen veggies if that’s all you have on-hand. The best thing about chicken soup is that it’s relatively forgiving when it comes to ingredients.
A note on noodles: I’ve never been a fan of noodles in my chicken soup (even when I was a kid… is that weird?) but if you want to use them, go right ahead. I find that the little Vietnamese Maifun noodles work really well for this, otherwise use your favorite rice pasta in fun shapes. Just prepare the noodles ahead of time and add them to the chicken broth at the very last minute to keep them from getting soggy.
- Ingredients for chicken broth:
- 1 3-4 round chicken, cut into six pieces
- 2 carrots
- 1 celery stalk (not the whole bunch!)
- 1-inch knob of ginger, diced
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 8 cups water
- Ingredients for chicken soup:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 inch knob of ginger, diced
- 1 carrot, chopped into half-rounds
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 bunch of chard, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley
- 3 tablespoons tamari
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups cooked rice noodles (optional)
- Method for chicken broth:
- If you prefer a less fatty soup, remove skin and outer fat layer from chicken.
- In a large soup pot, add chicken, carrots, celery, ginger, and onion. Pour 8 cups of water into the pot and stir gently to mix everything together.
- Over a medium heat, bring the chicken both to just a simmer. Lower heat and simmer gently while covered for one hour.
- Remove chicken from broth and allow veggies to keep cooking in the liquid. Allow chicken to cool for a few minutes, and then using your hands or a pair of forks, remove all of the meat from the bird and place in a bowl. Return bones back to the broth and let simmer for another 15 minutes. Set bowl of chicken meat aside.
- Once broth is done, strain using a cheesecloth or fine sieve, reserving broth and discarding all vegetables and bones. Wipe the soup pot clean for the next set of steps.
- Method for chicken soup:
- In the soup pot you used to make the chicken broth, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add ginger and garlic, cooking for 1 minute and stirring constantly. Add the carrots, celery, pepper, chard, and green onions one at a time, cooking and stirring for one minute each before adding the next.
- Pour chicken broth into soup pot and give the whole thing a big stir. Heat until it reaches a simmer, then lower the flame to medium-low and allow to cook for five minutes.
- Add parsley and tamari, stirring occasionally, cooking until vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper, adding more to taste. Add noodles, if you’re using them, and let sit for a minute before serving. Serve in hot bowls, garnished with a bit of parsley.