Food for Thought

Posts Tagged ‘soup


It was horrendously humid and muggy over the 4th of July Weekend.  I stayed inside and made a big pot of hot chicken soup.  I know.  It sounds crazy.  This was never on my list of things to cook that week, but, unfortunately, by the end of the night on the 4th, every time I tried to swallow a sip of water, I felt like that sip was being accompanied by ten hungry, hungry hippo marbles trying to squeeze their way down my throat.  By the following morning, I had a fever.  The inside of my body felt as oppressively warm as the outside world must have felt to all of you healthy people.  Except that feeling was in my veins.  I could not entirely escape it by ducking into the house or getting an ice cream cone, although I did try that.

I spent the entire day in bed feeling grateful for the person who invented air conditioning, which made things somewhat better.  I watched an entire season of television on Netflix.  Needless to say, my energy was low.  I haven’t been sick like that since I was a little kid.  I’ve been sick a number of times since, but never stuck in bed for the whole day.  This is the first time it’s happened when my mom hasn’t been 5 feet away to make me a pot of chicken soup.  Being three hours from home is tough in a lot of ways, but especially at that moment.  I would have to make my own chicken soup.

Everyone needs to know how to cook soup.  Why?  Because soup in a can is an offensive thing.  I buy canned beans and I love chili in a can added to taco dip.  No, I don’t like to question that belief or dwell on the notion of meat that doesn’t expire for two years.  It works.  I don’t know how.  Two year old meat in a can?  Good.  Any kind of soup in a can?  No thanks.  It’s hit or miss in restaurants too.  Salty, metallic tasting French onion soups at diners and sports grills have ruined my day at least twice.  Homemade chicken soup is one of the easiest things in the world to make, really.  Toss some ingredients into a pot, boil, simmer, serve, start to feel a little more human.

Chicken Soup

Servings 12

Prep. time (min) 16



1 2-3 pound whole chicken

3 sticks celery

10 Carrots

1 onion, halved

0.5 tsp salt

0.75 tsp pepper

1 tsp parsley

0.5 tsp onion powder

0.5 tsp garlic powder

1.5 cups Pasta



1.       Take the  giblets (plastic baggie) out of the center of the chicken.  Feel free to toss out the chicken parts that are in this bag unless you want to them for some other recipe.

2.       Put the chicken into the bottom of a big pot and cover it with cold water.  Toss in your carrots, onion, and celery.  Add the onion and garlic powder.  Bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 1.5 hours.  Every so often, skim off the foam at the top with a spoon.

3.        Remove the chicken to a plate with vegetables, and cut them up so you can add them to the finished soup.  Add pasta to empty broth and cook it.  I left it on simmer and just left the pasta in for a good fifteen minutes.

4.       Add fresh or dried parsley.  Taste the soup to see if you need to add more salt.  (As my mom once reminded me, you can always add more salt, but it’s impossible to remove it if you’ve got too much.  I noted, for the first time, how difficult it is to determine this when you are sick and making your own soup.)

5.       Ladle out your broth and pasta, add chicken and vegetables to each bowl.


Random tips / recipe notes:

– You can buy a bag of soup ingredients that has carrots, celery and some other veggies like turnips instead of buying the individual veggies listed here.  I’ve done that and it works well and makes shopping easier.  I tend to make a minimalized version of the soup, meaning I don’t think you need turnips, because it’s the one my mom made for me growing up.  I added a bay leaf to my recipe this time and regretted it because it wasn’t the same.  If you do add a bay leaf, remember to take it out at the end.  Those things kill people.

-I diced up my onion at the beginning this time, because I wanted diced onions in my soup, but I realized why I never do that: it made it really hard to skim the foam off the top of the soup.  Some people take out the carrots and celery at the end and just serve the broth with the chicken and noodles, since all the nutrients from the veggies are now in the broth anyway.  I cut large carrots into quarters because I do like to reserve them for the bowls of soup, but I leave the celery out.  It’s up to you and what you like, but if you dice anything really small at the start, it’ll be tough to skim off the foam while it is cooking.   You can also toss in whole big carrots and cut them up at the end if you want to put them in the bowls of soup.