A recent craving for chicken soup brought back delicious memories of the version my Mom made, wholesome, so full of fantastic flavour, comfort by the spoonful. Having recently extolled on the virtues of knowing how to roast chicken I’m now thinking that making a good homemade chicken soup should be added to the know-how list.
Trying to remember the things that Mom did to make hers so fantastic, I added a few twists of my own. I was so into it and writing down the instructions, I forgot to take pictures during the cooking process. My bad.
What I can offer… my best tips for the most Awesome Chicken Soup!
- For best flavour, use bone-in chicken pieces, and brown them first. Picture making stew, and how important that first step of browning the meat is!
- Cut the veg into big pieces. The size & texture give a flavour boost, they’ll hold together well, and they offer the bonus of being easy avoidable, for any that are not favourites.
- If you want to add noodles or rice, cook separately and serve on the side. It won’t get mushy and anyone that wants to add it, can. For best gluten free option, use brown rice pasta/noodles.
- To remove as much fat as possible, store the soup in the fridge after cooking, and cooling down. The fat will rise to the top, making it easy to remove.
- Add fresh herbs at the table when serving; I went with cilantro for the fresh flavour pop, but try basil, dill or even mint.
My preference for chicken pieces is dark meat, so I used bone-in legs. Use white meat if that’s your preference, adjusting the cooking time accordingly (should be less). If you’re cooking noodles or rice, do so during the final cooking of the soup, and serve them on the side. The same goes for adding fresh herbs. From cilantro to basil to mint, keep them fresh by serving the stems in water, in a pretty glass. Everyone can help themselves to however much of what they like!
Awesome Chicken Soup (Gluten Free)
Browning the chicken pieces and cutting the veg into big chunks makes this soup über flavourful, and hearty. Hold the fresh herbs until serving, adding leaves of cilantro, basil or dill as a final, tasty flourish.
- 1.5 - 2 lb bone in chicken dark meat
- 1 lb carrots 5 - 6 medium
- 2 - 3 stalks celery
- 1 medium onion
- 12 cups cold water
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 8 whole black peppercorns
- 1 cup brown rice or brown rice pasta *if serving, keep on the side
- few sprigs fresh basil, cilantro, dill or mint for serving
Remove the chicken pieces from the fridge 30 minutes before starting. Season them well with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Peel the carrots, then cut them in half lengthwise, then into approx. 2 inch pieces. Cut the celery into similar pieces, and the onion into large chunks.
Put a large pot on medium heat and add the oil. Add the chicken pieces skin side down and cook until skin is browned, 10 - 15 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook for another 5 minutes. Carefully remove as much of the fat that’s accumulated, discarding it.
Turn the heat to medium-high, add the carrots, celery, onion, whole garlic cloves, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Give it a gentle stir.
Add the water, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt. Cover the pot and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 25 - 30 minutes until the veg are tender and the chicken is cooked.
Remove the chicken pieces, discarding the skin. Shred the chicken using forks, and add back to the pot. Either remove the whole peppercorns, or warn those eating to watch out for them!
Serve with fresh herbs of your choice, and if using, brown rice/brown rice pasta on the side.
*To remove as much fat as possible, store the soup in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight. The fat will rise to the top and become solid, making it easy to scoop out.
**If you’re serving noodles or rice, cook just before you’re going to eat.