Chicken soup is a firm winter favourite. Believed to have healing properties, chicken soup should definitely be on your rotation of dinners for the colder months. Whether it really has magical healing powers or not is irrelevant, this delicious soup is like a hug in a bowl and while in its purest format it is gluten free, you can of course make a full meal of it by adding noodles to bulk it out, or serve with sides of toasted, crusty bread.
This gorgeous chicken soup requires chicken, vegetables and some spices, but absolutely no stock cube is needed and YES it is still full of flavour. Personally I like to cook my chicken soup long, low and slow and I’d suggest a simmering time (once it’s boiled) for at least three hours. Of course this soup will still be delicious the next day and remember as it is quite ‘brothy’ you will lose liquid in the cooking process. The longer you cook it, the more flavour you should extract, meaning that you can afford to add some water too to loosen or bulk out the soup to make more servings.
Servings: 6-8 depending on how much it reduces (and the size of your stock pot).
Prep time: 15mins
Cook time: 3.5hours +
- 1 chicken cut into four or eight pieces / or use 4 chicken carcass / or a mix of chicken pieces but they must include bones – the bones is where the flavour is, the chicken is a bonus! Do not discard any skin or bones, it all adds flavour.
- Top half of a large leek (white part) or two smaller leeks, white part – sliced finely
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 onion in rainbow slices
- Zest of one small lemon
- Juice of half a small lemon
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder – can substitute with small piece of ginger finely diced or a squeeze of ginger paste if you like a bit of a kick – ginger is also particularly good for you in the winter!
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- Enough boiling water to fill your stockpot (use the biggest pot you have)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place your stock pot on the stove and add 1 tbsp of oil.
- Slice and dice all the veg for the recipe and put into the pan, turn onto a low heat and start to cook down the veg.
- After 5 minutes, add the spices (except for the bayleaves), lemon zest and juice and salt and pepper to taste. I used a kosher chicken which tends to be quite salty, this recipe can take a bit extra salt if your chicken is unsalted.
- Continue to cook down stirring to avoid the vegetables burning.
- Meanwhile get your chicken ready, wash and pat dry (if washing) and pop into the pan mixing with the vegetables and cooking it down.
- Cook for a further 10 minutes on a low to medium heat before adding enough boiling water to cover the chicken and the vegetables and add your bayleaves. This all depends on the size of your stock pot but we recommend using the biggest pot you have!
- Allow to boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. You may have to do this a couple of times.
- After about 15 minutes, reduce to a simmer and put the lid on the pan but check and stir occasionally.
- After two hours, check the liquid levels, you may want to top up with more water as some will evaporate as it cooks.
- Keep cooking for a minimum of 3 hours and up to around 5. The longer you cook it the more intense the flavour and of course you can add a splash more boiling water, but check the flavour at the 3 hour mark so you don’t dilute it too heavily.
- Before serving skim off any oil on the top of the soup and discard.
- Then your soup is ready to serve! Discard bones and skin and the chicken will be so soft it will shred itself. Before serving you can also add some vermicelli, egg, rice, or gluten free noodles for a fuller meal.
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- These were my personal vegetable choices, but you can easily add more root vegetables to the soup and/or peas towards the end of the process.
- Adding grains and pulses during the process will also help to thicken this soup into more of a meal, you can add rice, barley, beans or chickpeas for a hearty dinner meal.
- Make a big a batch as possible as this soup freezes really well and is a perfect pick-me-up when you’re feeling a little under the weather.