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Feb 1, 2007 12:35 PM

Homemade Chicken Soup - looking for key ingredients

When I make a big pot of homemade chicken soup the process begins with split chicken breasts, root vegetables, a large glove of garlic, a finger of fresh ginger and cold water. Boiled down for stock and bits removed.

My spices include salt, black pepper, dried rosemary, dried thyme and one bay leaf.

While the chicken cools a bit for easier handling, I add finger length carrots, large dice celery, chopped onion and eventually the cleaned strips of white meat chicken to the pot.

As those flavors meld and soften, I boil water to prepare the pasta (my favorite is bow ties and I only parboil them).

When the 'ties are ready to be added in, I also add about a half cup of Marsala wine.

Pot boils until everything is married and I yell "soups on."

Nothing super scientific or grand about my method so I'd love to hear what you add to chicken soup. Any special add-in?

Thanks !

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  1. Personally, I discard the "boiled down" chicken as it has already given it's all in the stock process. Plus I make sure, since I will skim and screen my stock, that I get some bones and skin in. I usually make sure I use thighs as well, i think they have more flavor. I add sliced or cubed chicken back in when the presentation veggies are almost done. I never boil after the stock is done, just simmer to meld flavors and finish up the soup. If I add a wine, it is a reduction of vermouth. I also like mushrooms (Hey I'm Polish, it's genetic ) and fresh herbs. I also make a spatzle like noodle for the pasta.

    1. I like a small drop of Asian dark sesame oil in chicken soup. Not enough to be in your face but to add some depth

      1. i start with thighs and legs, rough chopped carrots, leeks, and garlic. sometimes ginger, depends. parsley, bay leaves, thyme. cook for several hours, strain out all solids, then chill overnight. next day, i skim off all the fat, add fresh skinless dark meat chicken, carrots and parsnips, salt. i like small fine noodles, so add about 1/2 pound directly to the pot, then pepper. when it's "done", i squeeze in a lemon.

        i've stopped using celery in stocks and soups because of the bitterness and recently read in escoffier to add black pepper only in the last 7 minutes of cooking, to prevent excessive tannins. seems to work.

        1. A whole chicken gives you more body -- esp if it really is a whole chicken (head and feet, from the Chinese market)
          Or I use legs/thighs
          whole onion and garlic cloves, a carrot, maybe thyme/parsley - all of which is discarded after they give up the goods
          whole black peppercorns (hotoynoodle, talk to me more about the tannin thing you read)

          I pull the chicken out when the meat is almost cooked, strip the meat off for the soup later and return the bones and bits clinging to keep cooking.

          After that, it just depends. We've gotten into chipotle chicken soup the past few years - toss in a canned chipotle and sauce, spinach, and orzo (precooked), finish with a ton of minced cilantro and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Adjust salt and pepper.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pitu

            Wow, the chipotle chicken soup sounds fantastic!!

          2. I think pitu has it. If you use a whole chicken you will see a major difference in your soup. If you strain the stock and put it on the porch overnight (30 degrees here), in the morning you can scrape off the hard fat and underneath it will be the most amazing gelatin. When heated up and stirred back into the soup it adds flavor and body. Geez, now you made me hungry for soup.