What would winter be without a little comfort food, and chicken soup is the ultimate liquid HUG (am I right?!). This is especially so when you’ve come down with some sort of lurgy and the only thing you have the energy to do, is to feel sorry for yourself.
Pop a pot of this chicken soup on the stove and I guarantee it will have you feeling better in a jiffy. Aside from investing in some good quality chicken, this dish is cheap as chips, and it’s easy to whip up a big batch in advance. In fact, using a free-range chicken broiler (not as large and fleshy as a roasting chook) or just a chicken carcass/bones, creates a soup or stock with great flavour whilst not being too pricey at all. Having said that, if you’re like me, you go the full enchilada so that you get to eat some of that juicy chicken later.
Leftover stock can also be kept in the fridge for about 7-10 days and used as a flavour base for other dishes or simply sipped straight as broth (bone broth…how cool hey? ha). Of course, freezing small containers of stock is also a great idea.
Once the soup has bubbled on the stove for a good few hours, and before serving, we usually reserve some of the stock for future use, remove the chicken pieces/carcass and add any shredded chicken back into the soup, with a few extra veggies, letting it gently bubble away for a few more minutes before serving up. At this point you could also throw in a handful or pearl barley or quinoa, or some pre-cooked small spelt pasta, for a more substantial meal.
I’m pretty sure there’s some science around supporting why chicken soup makes us a feel so damn good, but at the end of the day if it makes you feel better then you stick with it hey?!
I’m curious… what’s your favourite lurgy cure other than good ol’ chicken soup?
ps. The gorgeous hand painted black and white napkin pictured was kindly gifted to me by Jacquie of Fazeek Napkins, she’s a Melbourne based creative who makes beautiful hand painted linen napkins and the like. Definitely check her out!
Easy chicken soup
For the stock:
Whole chicken, bones or carcass (approx. 1 kg)
4 large carrots, chopped into chunky pieces
2 large brown onions, diced
4-5 long celery stalks, chopped into large chunks
Handful of parsley
1 x 375 g tin of chopped tomatoes OR 1-2 tomatoes roughly diced
1-2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped or crushed (optional)
Filtered water (enough to cover the all the chicken and veggies)
Salt/pepper (add and taste as you go)
Optional add-ins before serving:
Additional vegetables (like pak choy, chopped zucchini), or whatever is lurking in your vegetable crisper.
Handful of pearl barley or some small spelt pasta.
Place all stock base ingredients into a large pot, fill pot with water (until ingredients are just covered), and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat and let stock simmer for 4-5 hours until stock has reduced and any chicken meat falls off the bone. Adjust seasoning towards the end of cooking.
For a super clear broth, you can also skim of any excess fat that may appear as film on the top of the soup throughout cooking process.
Once stock is done, strain liquid from chicken/vegetables and reserve any excess to use throughout the week (can also be frozen).
Reserve enough stock for serving in the main pot and add back in any of the cooked vegetables, chicken flesh and/or optional extras, and bring back to the boil. Once added grains and/or extra vegetables are cooked, ladle soup in to bowls and serve immediately.
The longer the stock is simmered, the stronger the flavour will be. I always go for a free range or organic chook where possible too, as I find the quality and flavour to be far superior.