Homemade Chicken Soup

Another comfort food for our family is Homemade Chicken Soup. We make it several times every winter and it has become a

Homemade Chicken Soup

tradition for our Christmas Eve meal. My daughter & husband were home for a week and she asked me to make soup while she was home. Here’s the recipe, but note, that there is a lot of flexibility & measurements are not precise to say the least.

Homemade Chicken Soup

First, make the broth:

  • 1  3-4 lb chicken, thawed if frozen (I put in the whole chicken, but you could cut it up if you wish)
  • 3-4 Bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 large onion, cut in half
  • 2-4 whole cloves (put them in the onion halves)
  • 1 bulb garlic, cut in half
  • 1-2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3-4 stalks celery, cut in large chunks
  1. Put all ingredients in a large pressure cooker. Put enough water in it to just cover the chicken.
  2. Put pressure cooker on stove, cover and heat to boiling, cooking for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Put the pressure cooker weight on the steam vent when it has been putting out steam for several minutes. Cook at 12 lbs pressure for 45 minutes. Turn the heat off and let pressure come back to normal.
  4. Remove the cover from the pressure cooker carefully… drain the chicken broth using a colander into a large stock pan. Discard all solids except the chicken. Remove the meat from the chicken bones and refrigerate until you make the soup. Put the broth in the refrigerator overnight. The next day you can remove any fat that rises to the top.
  5. You should now have some lovely chicken broth.
  6. If you don’t have a pressure cooker or choose not to use one, you can simmer all the above ingredients in a stock pot for several hours until the chicken is done and pulling easily from the bones.

Now put the soup together:

  • 3/4 cup pearled barley
  • 1 lb. carrots, sliced
  • 5-6 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • Diced chicken from the broth above – add as much as you wish. Sometimes I put some aside for sandwiches or another dish.
  • 1 large bunch parsley, chopped (either curly parsley or flat Italian parsley)
  • Chicken broth made above
  1. Put chicken broth on stove and heat to boiling.
  2. Rinse pearled barley in warm water and then add to the chicken broth. Cook 30 minutes or until almost done.
  3. Add carrots, celery, & onions. Cook 15-20 minutes or until done.
  4. Add the chicken and heat until simmering.
  5. Add parsley and cook another 5-10 minutes.
  6. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper.
  7. Serve with fresh bread or crackers.

I will sometimes add diced potatoes in addition to or in place of the barley.

My Lentil Soup

I absolutely LOVE this lentil soup. The inspiration came many years ago from Jane Brody and it has evolved into the recipe below. It is basically a vegetarian recipe if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, but I go for the chicken broth. My husband likes to add some cooked ham to his portion.

My sister changed the white wine to lemon juice and I have to say I like this better than the wine. Without further ado….

My Lentil Soup

2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions, chopped
5 carrots, chopped (this is really an “about” as I buy a 1 lb bag of organic carrots and use the whole bag, minus what I munch on)
1 tsp dry oregano (original recipe called for marjoram, but never seem to have it)
1 tsp dry thyme
2 15 oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I’ve used regular when I can’t find these)
8 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (this originally called for 6 oz dry white wine which is also good… I like a Chardonnay or Chablis)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (am always generous with parsley — it adds some green)
Grated cheese for topping – Parmesan, Cheddar, or whatever suits you.

1. Heat oil in soup pot and saute the garlic, onions, carrots, oregano and thyme, stirring for about 5 – 7 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, broth, and lentils. Bring soup to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about an hour or until lentils are done.
3. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, and parsley. Simmer for a few minutes. Serve with cheese sprinkled on top.

White Bean-Pancetta Soup

Not sure where this recipe came from originally, but have been making it for a few years and never make it quite the same way. I know I’ve changed at least 3 of the ingredients/quantities, and don’t even recall the name of the original recipe, so maybe I can call it mine.

When you read the ingredient list, you can tell it’s pretty open to adjusting to your tastes. I love pancetta, but my husband thinks that regular bacon or ham (and more of it) would be better in this soup. Well, since I’m the cook….. :-). I put lemon juice in here, but often think a splash of Chardonnay would be an interesting substitute — just haven’t done it yet… maybe someday when the planets align and  there is Chardonnay on hand plus the desire to make the soup all on the same day.

Anyway, here’s the recipe to use as you wish.

White Bean-Pancetta Soup

3 oz package of pancetta, chopped (that’s how it’s available in local grocery, so that’s what is used – it could be any amount you wish)
4-6 cloves garlic, minced (if you’re not a garlic fan, tone this down)
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup chopped carrots
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-2 tsp. thyme ( I use dried, but sometime want to use fresh when have fresh thyme and the ingredients)
2 Bay leaves
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed. (Have used Cannellini or Great Northern)
4 cups chicken broth (or a 32 oz. box)
zest of 1 lemon
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
Salt & pepper to taste

To put it all together….
1. Heat olive oil in small soup pot and heat
2. Add garlic and pancetta, saute 2-3 minutes
3. Add carrots, onions, celery, thyme and saute another 5-7 minutes or until veggies are just starting to get tender
4. Add broth and bay leaves. Bring to boil, turn down heat, and let simmer 15-20 minutes or until veggies are done.
5. Add parsley, lemon juice and zest. Heat a few more minutes.
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with crusty bread and/or salad and enjoy!

I like to make this soup for Sunday dinner after church as it comes together fast and we’ve usually had a later breakfast, so it isn’t a heavy meal.

Roasted Asparagus Soup

Had a long day at work (on a Saturday, no less), so on my way home, was thinking about something light and comforting for supper. Had seen a recipe for Asparagus Soup in my Prevention magazine, so stopped at the grocery store to pickup some fresh asparagus.

Of course, instead of measuring, I just guesstimated the chicken broth and put in way too much. So what’s a person to do… I pureed a can of Cannellini beans to thicken the soup and it turned out great. So here’s my twist on the recipe.

Roasted Asparagus Soup

2 lb. fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or whatever you happen to dump in the pot, as was my case)
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
8 oz. baby portebella mushrooms, sliced (original recipe called for shiitake mushrooms, but didn’t have any)
1 can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 425.
Take 9 x 13 inch pan, lay asparagus in. Mix together with salt, olive oil, and garlic. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until starting to brown.
Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in pan and saute mushrooms until golden (5-6 minutes). Remove and place in a separate bowl/plate.
Melt rest of butter in pan and saute onion until starting to carmelize… 10-12 minutes.
When asparagus is done, remove tips from half of them and set aside.
Mix asparagus, beans, broth in small pot and puree using an immersion blender.
Add mushr0oms and pepper.
Bring to boil. Season w/ additional salt and pepper as desired.
Garnish with reserved asparagus tips.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Could’ve eaten the whole pot, but figured I should share. I’m sure you can come up with your own twist also