Chicken Soup need help never made soup before.
I have onion, celery, bell pepper, spinach, carrots, chicken, cilantro and potatoes. I want to make soup, don't know where to start. Please help.
I don't have to use all the ingredients.
Do you have any cans of chicken broth? If not, you can just use water. If you're in a rush and want to start now.
Brown one chopped onion and two minced cloves of garlic in 1 T olive oil. After the onion begins to brown, add chopped carrots. Maybe 2. Continue sauteeing for 5-10 minutes. Hope you can throw in a bay leaf, 1 tsp salt, and 2 tsp of dill weed (yes, dill weed, if not it's ok to skip). I usually use leftover cooked chicken. If your chicken isn't already cooked then you should start by browning chunks of that, then remove and start browning the above mentioned veggies. Add a couple of cans of chicken broth, and the chicken. I would wait until 15 minutes before serving to added minced cilantro if you didn't use dill weed. For a starch we prefer rice but go ahead and add cubed potatoes with the chicken and broth (or water). Probably simmer for 30 minutes before serving.
I would start by making a good hearty chicken stock, which you can learn how to do by reading this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/720140
After that, then you're nearly 90% of the way there to good chicken soup by just adding some chicken meat, noodles, veggies, seasoning, etc. or whatever else suits your fancy. More ideas and inspiration here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/753183
Do you have chicken stock or bouillion/base? If so, just put the chicken, stock/boullion/base and any veggies you want into pot and bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer until everything is cooked. Take the chicken out to shred and put back into the soup, season with whatever herbs you want to taste. I've taken to using fresh rosemary and fresh thyme in my chicken soup, but you can use any dried herbs you have on hand as well.
Pretty simple. You don't have to, as many don't, but I like to cook the onions, carrots and celery a bit in a bit of olive oil before adding the rest of the ingredients.
All of the previous replies sound yummy. My biggest secret for really good chicken soup is homemade broth, as ipsedixit said, but I rarely have time to make the complicated stock. Here's an easy version whose flavor is still lots better than any canned stock. Any time you cook chicken, or get a pre-baked rotisserie chicken, keep the skin and bones and put them in a pot with cold water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and leave simmering for 20 minutes. Strain out the broth and store in the frig. Fat will rise to the surface and keep the broth good in the frig for a few days up to a week (after that, remove the fat if you wish, but a little is sooooo flavorful). You can also freeze the broth. If you want to save space, reduce the broth by half or more and store it, again in frig or freezer, until you make your next pot of soup. If you have time, you can brown the skin and bones in a low oven, but again, any homemade broth is better than canned.
I make chicken soup regularly, and I always start with chicken and water. My chicken stock is precious to me, so if I'm starting with raw chicken that will give me all the flavor I need. I think the one ingredient that makes the most difference in chicken soup is salt--if you don't use enough it will taste like dishwater.
Good points, escondido. Never let the fact that you don't have stock keep you from making soup, Lulu. My fav chef, Jacques Pepin, has made many soups with water. And you're right on the salt aspect, too. We're all afraid of too much salt, but without it, soup - or any dish - just misses the mark. Taste each component of the soup, and taste before serving, and you'll never go wrong on seasoning.