Hallelujah! Chicken Soup From Scratch

Sisters and brothers! Brothers and sisters! Who among you is coughing? Who among you is sneezing? Whose throat is so sore it’s like you gargled sand paper? I’m Reverend Pastor Amateur Gourmet and I’m here to heal you with the yellow waters of homemade chicken soup. You may think to yourself: “Heck no! I ain’t go time for no homemade chicken soup! I’m opening a can!” But you’d be wrong, my friends, you’d be dead wrong. For one whiff of this Godly creation and you’ll be better restored than the Sisteen Chapel. Behold the vision:

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A bowl of this is within your reach. Click here to read the recipe in great detail, or let me walk you through it. I’ll show you how easy it can be.

What you need, more than anything else, is a big ‘ole pot. My biggest pot is the Le Crueset Dutch Oven I purchased a while back. But even this holds little more than two quarts of water. How could I proceed when the recipe calls for four quarts?

Reach to the heavens and you shall find your answer. Or turn to the Steve Martin section at your video store and look for the title “Leap Of Faith.” That’s all it takes.

I layered a raw cut-up chicken on the bottom of my dutch oven. I didn’t use all the pieces, just as many as I could get in without overloading it. Then I poured in about 8 cups of water (that’s 2 quarts). I brought it to a boil:

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I skimmed the fat off and then added all my vegetables:

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That’s: 1 onion unpeeled (nice! you don’t have to peel it! (though, I did, ultimately, cut it in half to help it fit); 2 parsnips peeled; 1/4 cup chopped celery leaves, 2 stalks celery and their leaves; 1/2 a rutabaga peeled and cut in half again; half a turnip, peeled and quartered; 2 carrots peeled and left whole; 3 Tbs chopped parslsey; 3 Tbs snipped dill; 1/2 Tbs salt, 1/8th tsp pepper.

Once in, the very crowded pot looks like this:

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You lower it to a simmer, you cover it, and you let it go like that for two and a half hours. Start this at 4 and it’ll be ready at 6. And look at the transformation that takes place. You start out with raw chicken, raw vegetables, and cold water and you end up with:

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Hallelujah! You’ve got soup!

So then you fish out all the vegetables and dump them: they’re no good–they’ve lost their flavor to the water. (That’s what makes the soup taste so good.) Then you take out the chicken and you let it cool. When it’s cool, get rid of the skin and cut up the chicken into little pieces. You’ll only use about half, use the other half for chicken salad the next day (which I did and it was tasty).

Then with the remaining liquid, strain it into another pot.

Here’s where you’re supposed to refrigerate it and let the fat collect for you to skim off. I was too impatient to complete this step. So I put the stock back on the heat, I chopped up a carrot, some celery, some leftover rutabaga and added it to the simmering broth. Then I added some egg noodles (acutally, I added WAY too many egg noodles: the next day, when I went to reheat the soup, the noodles had absorbed all the liquid! So be careful!) and waited about 6 minutes for them to cook. When they did, I ladeled myself a bowl, garnished with dill and look how beautiful:

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There’s nothing like making your own chicken soup. If you haven’t done it, I highly suggest you try it—you’ll never wanna eat canned soup again. And my cold? It’s getting better. True, I started an antibiotic yesterday (my throat was infected) but I only credit the antibiotic with 20% of my healing. The rest is in the soup. Can I get an amen?

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28 comments

  1. I’m making stock today from two chicken carcasses in my freezer today, coincidentally! It looks like I’m heading down the Ina “roast a chicken every Friday” road.

    I suggest you pick up a cheap, huge stockpot for stock-making purposes. You should be able to get something gigundo for thirty bucks that will do the trick.

    (Your dutch oven looks more like 5 or 6 quarts, no?)

  2. I think no matter how many noodles you use, they ALWAYS absorb all the broth in the leftovers. Usually I just add some water before reheating it, and it tastes fine. That looks so good! I wish I was in an apartment and not a dorm room so I could cook it.

  3. I think no matter how many noodles you use, they ALWAYS absorb all the broth in the leftovers. Usually I just add some water before reheating it, and it tastes fine. That looks so good! I wish I was in an apartment and not a dorm room so I could cook it.

  4. i usually brown my vegetables & chicken in the dutch oven or stockpot (using a little bit of olive oil, which gets skimmed off with the chicken fat) before adding the water. i find that this deepens the flavor of the stock a bit. and a few cloves of garlic and some whole peppercorns are a good addition to the broth – remove them when you take out the vegetables.

  5. I never put dill into my chicken soup until your post last year. YUM! I never make it without it now.

  6. I suggest you cook the noodles in another pot and then add them to the quantity of soup you willl be eating immediately, leaving the rest of the soup to be refrigerated noodleless. This not only prevents the noodles from soaking all the liquid up (ok, you might then add water, but it won’t be as good or have the same healing powers as the wonderful vanished broth), but also saves you from turning your noodles into a very soft soggy overcooked mass when you reheat the soup (I may be exaggerating, but I think the texture of overcooked pasta really shouldn’t spoil this pleasure)

  7. Chicken soup is at its best a couple of days after it’s first made. The taste is deeper, as is the colour. Closer to a deep gold than light yellow. Also, add kreplach – basically the ashkenzi jewish take on raviolli. The combination of the minced beef, the pasta and the chicken soup is fantastic.

  8. That looks fabulous. My own recipe is similar but I never thought to simmer whole veggies with the chicken to make broth – will be trying that! My secret is to add fresh lemon juice and ginger to the soup – it’s amazing.

  9. After I read about Adam’s adventures in chicken soup, I ran (well, drove) right out and bought the ingredients for this recipe, slapped them in a stock pot, and after several hours was rewarded with most delicious soup. Thank you, Adam!

  10. This recipe is great for a first time chef. I definitely do NOT cook, but I could cook this!

    Thanks for making it sooooo easy!

  11. Why were you taking antibiotics for a cold? Antibiotics only work on bacterial infections, not viruses such as cold viruses. This would mean that the soup did all the healing!

  12. I love this recipe, thank you! I have made it many times, and am making today because my son has cold. I make this at the slightest hint of illness, and with a dose of natural vitamins, especially C ( fresh OJ works too) and echinacea we can usually beat the worst of a cold. I also add a heaping tablespoon of fresh chopped garlic, another natural antibiotic. I do not like the dill, I pass on that.

    I truly believe in the power of this soup! Have a great day!

  13. I love this recipe, thank you! I have made it many times, and am making today because my son has cold. I make this at the slightest hint of illness, and with a dose of natural vitamins, especially C ( fresh OJ works too) and echinacea we can usually beat the worst of a cold. I also add a heaping tablespoon of fresh chopped garlic, another natural antibiotic. I do not like the dill, I pass on that.

    I truly believe in the power of this soup! Have a great day!

  14. I toss in a generous pinch of red pepper flakes. The little bit of ‘heat’ helps loosen congestion, clear noses and bring some needed blood to the extremities. Now on another note; if you study the aromatic properties of Thai- Tom Yum style soups, IMHO it’s chicken soup of the old gods. So lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and curry pastes have made their way into my soups on occasion. cheers!

  15. After reading this recipe and seeing the pictures, I ran out and bought all of the ingredients to make this. I couldn’t find a rutabaga so I left it out, but got everything else. The soup turned out fantastic. Being Indian, I can’t say my mother ever made chicken soup from scratch so I could never get chicken soup quite right. I was very surprised by some of the ingredients such as the dill and the kohlrabi but it turned out SOOO good! I will be reaching for this recipe all of the time! I don’t think I can ever bring myself to open up a can ever again with such a easy and delicious recipe at my fingertips. Thank you!

  16. I prepreped my vegies; peeling the carrots, parsnips etc and cutting the ends off onions…this is the stuff I pre bolied with the chicken. Waste not want not. Restaurants do this all the time.

  17. I did this recently with the carcass from the Thanksgiving turkey, added some chicken and also added some ground red pepper and a generous helping of Creole seasoning for a Cajun Turkey/Chicken Noodle Soup. It’s also an slightly aquired taste, but about 1/4-1/2tsp. of Worshtishire Sauce when seasoning makes for an incredible flavor. Be careful though… too much can totally overpower the soup!

  18. Beautiful! It looks absolutely delicious–but I will admit that the Campbell’s R&W chicken noodle soup is still a culinary guilty pleasure (I blame it on too many freezing cold football games that I had to go to while in marching band and a Styrofoam cup of that stuff was MANNA FROM HEAVEN).

    Ahem. Anyway–great stuff! My mom would make turkey noodle soup from scratch after Thanksgiving at it was always delicious. And all of those herbs…::sighs:: :-)

  19. I followed your recipe exactly. It turned out just as I had in wanted in a soup.
    The only thing I will do next time is add some bay leaves during the simmering stage and a little more salt. Thanks for posting.

  20. I was just giving myself a quick re-learning from what my grandmom taught me and this was the closest to how she made it! It’s cooking now! I have a suggestion though. She always cooked the egg noodles separately and served the soup by putting noodles in a bowl for each person, then ladeling the soup over it. Perfect al dente noodles! Thanks so much!!