Chicken Soup

C H I C K E N   S O U P 

My Chicken Soup starts with Homemade Chicken Stock; it’s the perfect thing to take to your best friend when she has a cold; pure nurturing in a bowl.  After removing all the fat that has risen to the top of the delicious chicken stock, reheat it and taste for strength . . . remember it has no salt in it yet, no herbs, so it will taste plain (we’re about to fix that!).  If it’s not strong enough, boil it down a bit to get it the way you like it.  If it’s too strong, you can add a little water. I cook most of the ingredients separately to keep them from overcooking, and to give the vegetables some TLC of their own.

Now You Need:

  • 4 or 5 containers of mushrooms (about 2 1/2 lbs), sliced a little thick; if you are lucky and find tiny button mushrooms, they can stay whole . . . I use all kinds  to give the soup interest, baby portobellos, shitake, and also regular white ones; dried ones too if you like; reconstitute them by soaking them in a little warm broth for a half hour before slicing and adding them to soup. They have a nice texture.
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 3 or 4 large brown onions, peeled and chopped into about 1″ pieces
  • 3 lg. cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
  • 1/2 small can tomato puree (adds wonderful flavor and great color)
  • the fresh-cooked chicken you set aside when you were making the stock, in bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 c. fresh chopped parsley
  • Tofu “shiritaki” noodles (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese

Heat up your pot of stock and check for strength; add thyme; partially cover the pot and allow to simmer. Don’t wash the mushrooms, just wipe off any dirt with a paper towel (you really don’t want them to get wet).  Slice, discard stems, and put them all into a heavy dry skillet (I use a big black iron pan) over high heat.  They will begin to exude their juices, which is what you want them to do.  When there’s a puddle of mushroom juices, add the chopped celery.  Stir often, and let juices cook down until they’re gone; remove the mushrooms and celery to a bowl and set aside.  In same skillet, put about 2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Over high heat, add chopped onions; cook and stir until brown and caramelized, about 20 min. When they’re done, stir in the garlic, let everything cook about a minute more, then add it all to the stock.  Also add the reserved mushrooms and celery.  Using a whisk (because it has a tendency to want to clump) stir in the tomato puree.  Bring it all to a simmer.  Add the bite-sized chicken and chopped parsley (add the chicken at the last moment and just heat it through — you don’t want it to get overcooked).  Taste and then add salt and pepper — I usually start with a half teaspoonful of salt and move up from there — I like lots of pepper.  The soup is perfect with grated cheddar or Parmesan cheese over the top.  It’s wonderful just like this, plain and simple, the deep dark delicious flavor coming from the long cooked stock, but sometimes I garnish it with slivered fresh spinach leaves — as you can see, this soup is highly adaptable, feel free to add anything from sweet potato chunks or rice to broccoli and carrots, the richer in vitamins, the better.

Cool the soup down before you refrigerate it — then put it in the fridge uncovered until it’s cold, you can cover it then; or you can freeze it.  When you go to serve it, just transfer however much you need to a saucepan with a measuring cup and heat it up.  That way you won’t have to reheat the entire thing every time, overcooking the chicken in the process.  And that’s all!  Enjoy!

16 Responses to Chicken Soup

  1. Pingback: Clover & Violet — It’s me, Clara

  2. Antonette Stuart says:

    Hello Susan,
    I’ve made your homemade chicken soup ,and I want to tell you ,it is the best
    ever,thank you so much for the tutorial on making it,love all the mushrooms.
    I pre ordered A fine Romance in early March,and can hardly wait to get it,
    so I can dream as I did when you bloged pictures along the way,during your
    trip,love love love Beatrix Potter. Have a blessed day.
    Sincerely,
    A. Stuart

  3. Karen chamberlain says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’m so glad you are feeling better and able to get into the fresh spring air. It’s so wonderful to find your posting and know you are on the road to recovery. You always lift my spirit with your words, art and caring heart. So grateful there’s you!
    Sincerely,
    Karen Chamberlain

  4. Cheri Plant says:

    Your Chicken Soup, next on my To Do List. :- ) This takes me back to the 1960’s when a school mate’s parents took 6 of us teenagers up to there cabin in Arnold, Calif for the weekend. As soon as we got there Mr Soares took us out tube sledding in the snow right out their front door. Little did we know, Mrs Soares was inside doing her domestic duties. She made homemade chicken soup, a beautiful lasagna with plenty of french bread. When we came in from the cold that smell was heaven. Also the first time I learned to put a drop of red wine viniger in my chicken soup. Yummmmm! We all sat around the table after doing the dishes we told stories and laughed all the while adding to our memories. The other best part was the next morning waking up to breakfast cooking. Us girls, all in one bedroom – giggeling all night, and the fella’s all spread out in the living room was so fun. As we crept out of our giggle cage there was a beautiful fire burning, all of our socks hanging there to dry and this huge breakfast at the table. Hot chocolate was handed to each of us as we sat around the fire. I mostly remember the biggest platter of fried eggs I’d ever seen in my life & a stack of homemade biscuits placed on the table. Mrs Soares loved her kitchen and having you there to enjoy it. It was a weekend I will never forget and one of the reasons I love being a homemaker. By the way, I still make her chicken soup recipe to this day. Now I have a new one to add to the table so thank you for that, it sounds delish!!!
    Cheri

  5. Barbara says:

    I am sooo glad you are feeling better and can’t wait to try your chicken soup. We just got back from a vacation in Aruba to the chillier weather in upstate New York, so the soup will be perfect. I also ordered two copies of your book and can’t wait to go on your trip all over again……love you!

  6. Gail Whiteley says:

    Very lovely site.

  7. Joy says:

    googled your recipe…Made it today….best ever! Thanks!

  8. Susan says:

    Dear Susan,

    Many years ago I came across your vegetable lasagna recipe in a magazine, possibly Country Living. Well, It was one of my all-time favorites, and absolutely amazing with those veggies fresh from the garden. Well, I had a house fire several years ago now and the recipe was lost. I often think about it, especially now during garden harvesting…where could I find a copy of it? In any particular book?

    Thank you sooo very much!
    Warmly,
    Susan

  9. Dennis says:

    Hi,
    To keep the proportions right, how many cups of broth are you using?
    Thanks,
    Dennis

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