Note: There are two sections of ingredients, so be sure to see both lists!
It’s very difficult to come up with an introduction for my mom’s chicken soup without sounding overly dramatic.
Is it too much to say it’s the “best meal ever”?
How about, “Heals anything, even broken hearts”? “Tastes like heaven”?
At the very core of my being, I L.O.V.E. this soup. It is…like chicken soup for the soul. Only it is real chicken soup, also.
I asked my mom to make this recipe so I could post it here, on the blog. She did, and even took pictures while she was cooking. Isn’t she the best?
There are basically two “stages” to this recipe:
- chicken & broth-making stage (takes 2-3 hours)
- soup-making stage (takes 30-40 minutes)
How to Cook the Chicken & Make the Broth
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 5 celery stalks, and leaves, chopped
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
- cup of carrots, chopped
- one whole organic chicken, washed
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
- 4-6 cups of organic chicken stock, either store bought or homemade
- 6-8 cups of water (it should cover your chicken in the pot)
(Jessica’s note: I’ve always made this with all water, and no broth. I now realize why Mom’s always has a richer taste! I also noticed that the Pioneer Woman ALSO adds broth. So if Mom and Ree are doing it, I better get with the program.)
- Find a very large stock pot. Place all the above ingredients in the pot.
- Turn the burner on high, and bring to a boil.
- Put the lid on, turn it way down to simmer for 1-3 hours.
Note for the newbies like me: Simmer is a light, small, bubbly boil. Just barely a boil.
- Once the chicken has been simmering for several hours, and is completely cooked, strain the chicken and vegetables, saving the broth. Don’t forget to save the broth! That’s for your soup! Who would do that, forget to save the broth?? Ahem.
- Now you have to pick the chicken meat off the bone. I have vivid childhood memories of gravitating to the kitchen during this stage, and begging for dark meat. So for the love, if your kids come by asking for chicken meat, give them some. It might be a treasured memory.
- My mom also says to save the large chunks of carrots from the broth, so you can toss them back into the soup, too.
Now it’s time to start putting this all together into something that resembles soup.
- 1-2 cups of greens: Your choice of spinach, kale, or parsley. Or several of these! The soup pictured had finely chopped spinach and parsley. Mom says to chop the spinach or kale VERY finely, as you would herbs, so that no one even knows they’re in there!
- 3-4 cups of white potatoes
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 c brown rice or barley (if desired)
- 2 cups of frozen peas
- 2 cups of freshly-cut corn (Note: Mom says this is the KEY to amazing chicken soup. Fresh corn, cut off the cob!)
- frozen dumplings, such as Annie’s (if desired) OR 1 cup dried noodles, such as egg or orzo (if desired)
- Put the broth back on the stove, and bring to a boil. Add the greens, potatoes, and the carrots.
- Wait until it’s boiling again, and then add back your chicken meat, the corn, the peas, and, if desired, the rice or barley.
- If you’re adding frozen dumplings or noodles, you’ll want to bring the soup to a boil again before adding either of these.
Note: My mom is partial to the Annie’s Old-Fashioned Dumplings. She took this picture to show why she loves their company:
You can see that this soup is actually kind of holy. With real, live love.
- Once the dumplings or noodles have cooked for about 5 minutes, turn the stove OFF. Taste the soup…you’ll need to add some salt and pepper again. Mom recommends topping with another handful of chopped parsley and green onions.
Now, your soup is done! Serve to someone you love.
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