Chicken Soup from SCRATCH!
I love chicken soup for many reasons, but there's no denying that homemade chicken soup where the stock is made from scratch contains some mythical healing properties. We’re not talking Campbell’s chicken noodle soup here. We’re talking about the long-enduring tradition of using a whole chicken (with or without the meat, but definitely with the bones),including the giblets, simmering for upwards of 8 hours—more if your gas bills can take it.
Homemade chicken stock (and soup) is infamous for being nature’s remedy, a medicine more effective as Tylenol. Many cultural traditions call this a sacred food, healing nerves, improving digestion and allergies, relaxing and rejuvenating the body.
The key ingredient in a good stock is the gelatin the bones impart. Also key, is finding a good quality free range chicken, starting from cold water so that the flavors are released slowly. I recommend allowing at least 6 hours for your broth to develop, maintaining a slow and steady simmer throughout the whole process.
Modern day boxed chicken broth will not hold the same healing properties, so this truly must be done the old school way.
My recipe comes from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, which I HIGHLY recommend, but I make my own additions, as well, depending on what I have on hand.
- 1 free range chicken
- Gizzards from chicken (optional, but recommended)
- 4 quarts of cold water (I use more if it’s a bigger chicken—I want to say I used 4 more cups)
- 2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 large onions, quartered
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 3 celery sticks
- 1 bunch of parsley
- Fresh herbs of choice
- Remove neck and wings from the whole chicken and chop into rough pieces. If I’m in a rush I sometimes skip this and just put the whole chicken in without cutting pieces.
- Put whole chicken, neck, and wings in a stock pot with the gizzards, water, vinegar, and vegetables. Don’t add parsley/herbs yet.
- Leave in the cold water for 30 minutes.
- Bring to a boil, skim the scum off the top, then simmer for 6-24 hours. The longer the better!
- 10 minutes before you’re done, add the parsley and herbs to impart minerals.
- When you’re ready, remove the chicken pieces onto a plate and strain the stock into your containers for storage.
- Remove the chicken meat from the carcass and refrigerate to use in soups, stews, sandwiches, etc. In this case, we’ll use some of it for chicken soup!
I like to start this a half hour before the stock is done. And again, you can add whatever you have on hand. No need to get too rigid with this.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeling and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 cups shredded chicken
- a few stalks of fresh herbs of choice (I like oregano and thyme)
- 8 cups chicken stock (I tend to eyeball this so it’s the proportion I like)
- 1 lemon squeeze
- Put 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large soup pot and once heated, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic.
- Saute until onions are translucent, then add a dash of salt and pepper.
- Throw in the shredded chicken and herbs and stir. Cook for a few minutes.
- Now you can add the stock. I like to add or take away stock and add shredded chicken so I like the proportion. Some people like a broth-heavy soup, and others like a heartier chicken soup. In that case feel free to add in additional veggies in the beginning, as well!
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-30 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add a squeeze of lemon. At this point, you’ll need to add salt to taste. I ended up adding a decent amount because my homemade stock didn’t start with any. Don’t be afraid to season it right! 😃