Who does not love chunky homemade chicken soup? As I write this article, it is raining on a grey Vancouver day. I can smell the pleasing aroma of a large pot of homemade chunky chicken soup, wafting through the house increasing my appetite. There are no secret ingredients to this soup just plain and simple goodness. No MSG or chemicals, no additives or preservatives; and if you are vegetarian leave out the chicken! What is more nourishing than sitting down to a hot bowl of homemade soup - simply a Great Cold Weather Food. Here is my version in all its simplicity.
Chunky Homemade Chicken Soup
Ingredients For Broth:
- Carcass of a chicken (better than chemical substitute / flavours).
- We buy chicken bones with meat attached which equals about a cup of cooked meat
- 1 x 32 (946 ml) ounce Container of Vegetable broth. Organic if not homemade from scratch
- 6 - 8 cups of water
- 1 cup chopped carrots, handful of chopped fresh parsley and a cup of diced onions
- Additional potatoes (rice, barley or pasta), carrots, onions and parsley required in Stage II
Directions - in two stages
- Break down the chicken carcass and cover with broth and water
- Add 1 - 2 medium onions chopped
- Add 1 cup diced carrots
- Add half a bunch of chopped fresh parsley
- Add leaves from 4 - 6 fresh thyme
- Add small spoon salt, pepper to taste, plus 2 Bay leaves
- Bring to boil and simmer 2 - 3 hours until chicken falls off the bone
- Let cool - preferably overnight
- When cool remove any fat from the top of the soup (use paper towels or spoon)
- Remove all chicken bones from the soup
- Reheat pot of soup and add:
- Another cup of carrots
- 2 cups chopped potatoes
- Half a bunch of parsley - chopped (keep some fresh for garnish)
- Remove bay leaves and add thyme, sage, salt and pepper to taste
- Bring to boil and cook for 20 minutes until vegetables are cooked
Variety the Spice of Life
If you prefer not to use potatoes substitute long grain rice for the diced potatoes, ½ cup barley or 1 cup of medium shell type pasta (whole wheat). Two cloves of fresh minced garlic can be added. For a Spicy Version add:
- 2 Tablespoons curry powder
- ½ Teaspoon Ginger Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Cummin
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Shakes Cayenne (optional - simply place on table when serving)
The simple version - 30 minutes or less
- Use left over chicken or buy a BBQ Deli chicken
- Remove skin and chop into bite size chunks. Use 1 - 2 cups meat
- This will omit Stage I above
The Vegetarian Version
- Omit chicken and go straight to Stage II and add:
- 2 x 16 ounce cans of beans such as Great Northern, Pinto, Black beans
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup of frozen corn kernels
- I like to cook the chicken the day before and finish the next day
- When cooking chicken soup from scratch it has an incredible taste and well worth the extra effort
- Refrigerate any left over soup or freeze in single size portions (eat within 3 months)
- During the winter months we store our pots of soup in the garage (i.e. if it is zero outside it will be only a few degrees warmer in the garage). Ideal spot
- Carrots used were from our bulk juicing carrots
- Use leftover Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey instead of chicken to reduce food waste
With a big pot of soup, you and your kids can scoop out a bowl full, and microwave to heat, for an almost instant healthy lunch or dinner on the run! This is also a most reasonably priced meal as well as nutritionally complete when a peanut butter or cheese sandwich and a side salad are added. Homemade soups, in their endless variety, are a winter staple in our home.
That's it! Super easy, super quick and super healthy. If there are leftovers the soup will taste better the next day. Enjoy!
Links and References:
- A few more soups & other recipes
As the days grow short, some faces grow long.
But not mine.
Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early.
I am suddenly happy.
It's time to start making soup again.
~ Leslie Newman