How to cook chicken soup from scratch

Hi everyone, this is a guest post from Paleozilla, who will teach us how to cook a simple chicken soup. Be sure to get the best chicken you can get to make this a truly nutritious dish. Try to get free-range chicken or as a compromise, Sakura chicken, which is hormone free, live in a temperature-controlled, clean environment with enough space for them to roam about while listening to Mozart. Yes, Mozart…!

Simple Chicken Soup From Scratch for 3-4 People.
Preparation time 5-10 mins.
Cooking time 1.5 – 2.0 hours on a low heat.
Difficulty – very easy! Little preparation, just top up the water as you go along.

“As it says in the title, this is a simple way to make chicken soup from scratch and feeds 3-4 people. The recipe is a simple version of an English chicken soup that I grew up with. Chicken soup is a great recipe as it is easy to prepare and most of all because you get the very most out of your chicken with no waste at all. Furthermore, all the chicken innards, which have a lot of goodness but not everyone likes to eat separately, help to make the soup. Additionally this recipe is great because if you need to feed more people it is easy, follow the same steps with a bigger chicken and add more veggies. In fact, the recipe below is very simple and you can easily add more vegetables as you like; potato, leek, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, parsnip (for those in Europe), daikon radish (for those in Asia), beans, peas and so on. Stick to the harder type veggies such as root vegies as they will be cooked for a long time. To make sure it is chicken soup it is better not to use veggies that will disintegrate into the soup and flavor it too much such as squash or pumpkin.” – Tom

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2-3 large carrots
  • 1-2 onions
  • 2-3 sticks of celery
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves, handful of thyme
  • 4 pinches each of salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Start with an entire chicken. Just be certain it is clean inside; rinse any excess blood out. I did not use the head but the neck, innards and claws all went in – all tasty goodness!

Chicken soup 1

Preparation is dead simple – the chicken needs little prep, only to be washed and the head to be cut off. The veggies want each end cut off. The onion and garlic need peeling, of course, but the carrot does not. Cut the veggies roughly into large pieces. Do not cut them too small as they will be cooked for 1.5 hours.

2. Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a large pan. Put the whole chicken into the pan and brown it on both sides. This should take a matter of a few minutes each side.

3. Remove the chicken and set it aside for now.

4. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the same oil and sweat the vegetables for 5-6 minutes.

5. Now put the chicken back into the pot on top of the vegetables and add enough cold water to cover the chicken entirely. Now season the soup with the bay leaves, a handful of thyme and 4 pinches each of salt and black pepper.

Chicken soup 2
The chicken is browned to give it more flavour

6. Close the lid and cook slowly on a medium-low heat for as long as it takes for the chicken meat to start to fall off the bone, approximately 1.5 – 2.0 hours on a low heat. The pot must be closed to retain the water.

7. Important! Remember to check and top up the soup with water if you find it is boiling away. You will want to turn the chicken a couple of times as it slowly cooks.

See how we have kept the veggies chunky so they will be cooked but not mushy
See how we have kept the veggies chunky so they will be cooked but not mushy

8. How do you know when the chicken is nicely cooked? Use two forks and scrape the meat away slowly. It is ready when the meat comes off easily. Remember to keep topping up with water.

Just before the chicken is removed. You know it is done when the meat starts to fall away when you lift it
Just before the chicken is removed. You know it is done when the meat starts to fall away when you lift it

9. When the chicken looks like that in the photo above, it is time to turn off the heat. Remove the chicken and place in a dish. Now, begin the shred the meat away from the skin and bone. You can use forks but it is also best to get in there and use your hands to get all the meat away from the bones.

Remove the chicken from the pot
Remove the chicken from the pot
Start separating the meat from the bones
Start separating the meat from the bones
No waste! On the left, all the meat (white and brown separate), on the right is only bone, skin and the innards
No waste! On the left, all the meat (white and brown separate), on the right is only bone, skin and the innards

10. Next, strain the soup to get rid of any unwanted bits from the chicken and the bay leaves, which are inedible. For best results, strain the soup through a sieve to discard some of the fat from the chicken.

Straining the soup through a colander gets rid of big bits. Passing the soup through a sieve can get rid of fat too.
Straining the soup through a colander gets rid of big bits. Passing the soup through a sieve can get rid of fat too.

11. Combine the soup with the veggies and the chicken meat. Heat again if needed and there you go!

Chicken soup 9

12. Serve and enjoy your nutritious homemade chicken soup!
Chicken soup 10

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