Homemade Chicken Soup
There is something medicinal about homemade chicken soup. My mom makes amazing chicken soup. Whenever I am sick, or someone in our family or in our church is sick, she makes this soup and brings it to them in a mason jar. It cures whatever sickness or sadness you are facing. I don't really use a recipe when making chicken soup (it is more of a method that my mom taught me) but I will try to share it with you. Next time you are sick, make this soup and it will make you feel better! My good friend, Jen, was really sick last winter and I made this soup for her. She told me it was the best chicken soup she ever had. That could have been the sickness talking, but it is pretty good and it did help her feel better. Okay, let's get started! Homemade Chicken Soup
2 split chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper, seasoning salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet or Spanish onion, diced
4-5 carrots, peeled and cut into small rounds
3-4 stalks celery, cut into small slices
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
pinch of dried oregano
pinch of dried parsley
salt & pepper
2 cartons chicken broth (32 oz each)
1/2 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
rind of Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/4 cup orzo pasta
Roasted chicken will give you wonderfully flavored soup. You can use leftover chicken from dinner the night before, or even shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken for your chicken soup. I prefer white chicken in my soup, so I roasted two split chicken breasts just for the soup. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over each chicken breast and season generously with salt, pepper and seasoning salt. Cook at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Heat a large soup pan over medium heat with a couple swirls of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon).
Dice the onion, carrots and celery, and add to soup pan. Lightly saute and soften vegetables for five minutes and then add minced garlic. It is really important to wait to add the garlic because it has a tendency to burn and can become bitter, ruining the flavor of your soup. Lower heat to medium-low and continue to cook for another couple minutes. Sauteing your veggies will deepen the flavor of your soup (rather than boiling them) and will cut down on the cooking time.
Add your dried herbs - pinch of oregano and parsley and your bay leaf. Season with freshly ground pepper and just a tiny amount of salt. This is what your soup should look like. Notice the veggies are NOT browned, just softened and lightly cooked. Now add your chicken broth. I use about a carton and half. You can always add the rest of the second carton later if you need it.
Skin and debone the chicken and cut the chicken into small pieces. Add the cut up chicken and diced tomatoes to the soup pan and turn heat up to medium-high heat.
Now this is optional, but I find it really adds something special to my soup - adding the end or rind of a wedge of hard cheese. This rind was from Parmesan cheese but you can use the rind of any hard cheese- Romano, pecorino, etc. I save them just for making soup since the ends are too hard to eat anyways.
Cook the soup (it will be lightly boiling) for about 20 minutes, or simmer on low for up to an hour.
Add your pasta about 10-15 minutes before serving. I like to use a small pasta so it doesn't "overtake" your soup. The starchiness of the pasta will thicken your soup and add heartiness. I refer orzo pasta, which is a small rice shaped pasta. This is a pretty decent sized pot of soup and I only use 1/4 cup of uncooked pasta which really fills it up plenty. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until soup is slightly thickened and pasta is cooked.
Remove the bay leaf and rind of cheese before serving. Serve with Italian or French bread and freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.
My soup got incredibly thick after I shut the heat off and let it cool. I added two cups of water to the pan and poured the leftover soup in a mason jar and gave to a good friend. I actually had enough soup leftover from our meal to fill two mason jars, so we had lunch the next day too!
This makes a lot of soup, enough for two meals. You can cut the recipe in half if you don't want to make that much.