- Course: Appetizer, Main Course
- Total Time: Under 4 Hours
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 15 Times
Can be made ahead of time.
This is something you need to know how to make. You may not need to make it today, or tomorrow, or even next week. But one day, someone you love will be under the weather or really sick or depressed and you’ll want to do something special for that person. There is nothing better than homemade chicken soup to convey a message of love and caring.
The very best thing to use to make chicken soup is an older chicken, called a fowl. Its meat has the most flavor. A fowl is readily available in a kosher butcher shop, or you can ask your supermarket to get you one. It’s fine if it’s frozen. You don’t even have to thaw it before making the soup. If you can’t get your hands on a fowl, then use a roasting chicken and go heavy on the onions.
Rinse the chicken and neck well and place them in a very large pot or kettle. If you are using a frozen fowl, don’t bother defrosting it. Add the bouillon cubes and the cut-up vegetables, parsley, peppercorns, and garlic. Cover completely with cold water and bring to a simmer.
Cover the pot, leaving the lid off center so that some steam escapes. Cook for 2 hours over very low heat. The soup should be just barely simmering. Let the soup cool with the chicken in it for an additional half-hour at room temperature, and then strain off the liquid. You should have about 3 quarts liquid.
Refrigerate the soup until very cold and then scrape off the fat that has solidified on top and discard it. You can use the cooked chicken for chicken salad or add it back to the soup before serving. (It won’t have much taste.) Discard the cooked vegetables (or eat them out of the bottom of the pot the way I do).
Reheat the soup and taste before adding any additional vegetables or seasoning. If the soup is very undersalted, I like to add another bouillon cube rather than straight salt; try adding one-half a cube at a time to avoid oversalting. I like lots of pepper in my soup. Add the remaining vegetables and cook only until they are tender.
Can be made ahead? Yes. Up to 2 days. Chill well after cooking and keep refrigerated until ready to reheat. Skim off fat first.
Can be frozen? Yes. Cool completely in the refrigerator, skim off all visible fat, store in plastic containers, and freeze for up to 6 months. Defrost in the refrigerator or microwave.
Can be doubled and tripled? Yes. You’ll have to use a very large pot, or 2 pots.Good for leftovers? Yes. Keep covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving, using a 5lb chicken, and includes adding the cooked chicken back to the soup.