Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Super Simple Modern Style Homemade Chicken Soup

One of my favorites things on a rainy day is a nice big steaming comforting bowl of homemade chicken soup. The aroma of chicken soup simmering takes me back to childhood.  Mom made the best soups! There is always so much more flavor in soups you make at home!  

Soup is an easy food to prepare. This super simple modern style chicken soup doesn't start out with a whole chicken.  Yes, I can break a whole chicken down to make it, but it's not my favorite thing to do.  I love using chicken thighs with the bone in and skin on because there is a lot more flavor in those parts. Thigh meat doesn't dry out as easily as white meat.  

Chicken soup should have some of the chicken fat in it since fat is flavor.  Small amounts of healthy fat will keep the hunger pangs away longer and brains do need some fat to work well also. The best and easiest way to remove the excess fat is to chill the soup overnight. Fat congeals to a layer on top of the broth and which can easily be lifted off.  When the soup is done it's easy to pull the chicken pieces out to remove the skin and bones and cut into spoon-size pieces. This too can be done the next day or before serving. Controlling the sodium and flavor profile is better in scratch-made food. Once you prepare homemade soup your palate will tell you there is no going backed to canned soups. 

Easy Modern Style Homemade Chicken Soup

Easy Modern Style Homemade Chicken Soup

Serves 6-8


1 large white onion
4 large carrots
3 large celery stalks
1 bunch of fresh parsley  
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dry tarragon 
1 teaspoon dry dill 
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme 
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (to start)
1/2 teaspoon finely ground white (or black) pepper
2 quarts of water or chicken stock
2 teaspoon flavorless cooking oil
2 pounds average sized chickens thighs (preferably with bone and skin on)*

1/2 cup uncooked Israeli couscous

6-quart size Dutch oven or stock pot

Fresh carrots with tops


Clean and peel carrots, chop into smaller dice.  Imagine the pieces on your spoon eating to judge size you prefer.  Scrub and chop dice celery. Set carrots and celery aside.   Peel and dice the onion into a medium to small dice.   Chop the parsley fine including the stems.  If you don't like chopping the stems, then take the stems into a bunch and tie with cotton kitchen twine for easy removal.  The parsley stems add a lot of heartiness to add to the finished soup.

White Onions
Into the stock pot or Dutch oven add the flavorless oil and on medium heat sweat the onion, carrots, and celery for a minute or two.  Next add the dried tarragon, dill, stir to bring those herbs back to life. Add the 2 bay leaves (I happen to use dried bay) and the water.

I prefer to use the chicken thighs with the skin and bone in. *If you use boneless and skinless thigh, then you can cut those into bite-sized pieces before adding to the soup base. Add the chicken to the pot and over a very low flame heat to a simmer for 60 minutes minimum.  

Check for flavor.  This is where you can adjust the salt and pepper.  If you've used the bone in chicken thighs, remove them from the pot and cut or shred the meat to small pieces.   

 If you want a heartier broth, let is simmer lid off a bit at this point to reduce the volume.

Sweating the carrots, celery, onions and herbs


I can be lazy or in a hurry cook some days so I often just add the uncooked Israeli couscous to the stock pot and cook for about 10 minutes.  I find that adding the couscous works fine because the larger Israeli type stays round and firm and doesn't cloud the broth.   Any other soup noodle or rice should be cooked separately and just added to the bowl before ladling in the soup.