The Comfort of Chicken Soup

With tomorrow St. Patrick’s Day, I fully intended to post about my preparations for a lovely Irish meal tomorrow. I wrote a similar post last year, and had a few wonderful meals. Those plans were set until I began struggling with a late winter cold yesterday afternoon. When I woke up this morning coughing and sneezing, the only food on my mind, in fact one of the only things on my mind, is chicken soup.

I make a lot of soup during the late fall and winter, and normally chicken soup is part of the mix along with various bean and vegetable soups. Somehow this winter has slipped by without a single pot of homemade chicken soup on my stove. Well that’s going to be remedied today. In a few hours I’ll be heading up to the grocery to pick up a key ingredients for my homemade chicken soup.

I tend not to follow recipes when making soups, and just add what sounds tasty to me at the time. I make chicken soup in a variety of ways, but think today it’ll be a fairly simple, basic recipe, keeping in mind that I’m not feeling all that wonderful. I’ll pick up a whole chicken, and add it to a mix of low sodium prepared chicken broth and water, along with a few seasonings (probably some black pepper and a “no-salt” mixture, and perhaps some herbs if any spring to mind). I’ll also add a chopped up celery stalk, a minced onion, and a diced carrot or two. I’ll let all of that simmer for an hour or so, until the chicken is soft and falling off the bone, and the vegetables have given the broth a nice flavor.

At that point I’ll strain the broth and put it back in the pan. I’ll cut some nice chunks of chicken meat and add them back to the broth. If I don’t have enough chicken left at this point, I’ll chop up another chicken breast or two and add them to the broth. Then, I’ll dice some plain vegetables: celery, onion, carrots are key and add them to the broth. When I’m feeling healthy, and more adventurous, I’ll usually add some diced tomatoes and chopped rutabaga to the broth. I’ll also normally add hot sauce of some type. Once in awhile I’ll add a bit of rice or some noodles or homemade dumplings, but they tend to overwhelm the soup, particularly when I reheat it for leftovers the next day. Today I’m thinking the real basic soup is what I want; just comfort.

Do you ever make chicken soup (and I’m not talking out of a jar or can)? If so, what are your go-to ingredients? And if the chicken soup really is a cure, perhaps tomorrow I’ll feel up to another store run for the makings of a lovely St. Patrick’s Day meal — I’d been debating between making either Guinness Stew or corned beef cooked with Guinness.

Happy Saturday, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow!

–LinnieGayl

7 thoughts on “The Comfort of Chicken Soup

  1. LeeB.

    I do make chicken soup but mine is pretty plain — orzo and chicken from the grocery store — along with low sodium bouillon cubes. Hey, it may not sound that great but it really is. :) And I have veggies on the side.

    1. LinnieGaylAAR

      Lee, I do like orzo; I’ve never thought to add it to chicken soup. I’ll have to give it a try someday.

  2. Missie

    I hope the soup cures you!!

    I sometimes make chicken soup — BTW, by comparing labels, I’ve learned that stock (chicken and beef stock) is lower in sodium than even the reduced-sodium broth!

    I usually include carrots and celery and diced onion. If I want noodles, then I’ll cook them separately and refrigerate them first…this keeps them from overplumping in the broth. I’ve found that rather like fried rice is best made with rice that’s been refrigerated, noodles (or rice or whatever pasta) do best in soups and stews if cooked and refrigerated first.

    Alternatively, I just add the noodles to each individual serving.

    1. LinnieGaylAAR

      Missie, those are good tips about the noodles and rice. I’ll have to give that a try next time. My chicken is simmering right now. I did decide to pick up a zucchini as well to slice up and add toward the end. While I’m not a huge fan of zucchini in other ways, it seems to add something quite nice to many soups.

  3. maryskl

    My husband is the chicken soup chef in our family. He adds turmeric, sage and McCormick’s chicken seasoning. He cooks the chicken until it is falling off of the bone and then de-bones all of the chicken and sticks it back in the pot. Then he dumps in whatever vegetables are on hand and usually some rice. It is wonderful.

    1. LinnieGaylAAR

      Turmeric! What an interesting idea, Maryski. I’ve recently begun using turmeric a bit more, but never thought to add it to soup.

  4. Judith

    When I make “sick person chicken soup” I always add fresh ginger and garlic – both add a lovely zing to the soup that cuts through the nasal congestion and deadened taste buds, and seem to make me feel better. Chicken soup for entertaining or just regular dinners is more traditional – much like yours.

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