- I don’t know about you but I am thrilled that summer is over and fall has finally arrived. Fall is my favorite time of year…especially now that I live in Northern Virginia where I get to experience the season in all its splendor. I thought this would be the perfect time to write about my “Cure-All” Chicken Soup.
Okay…it doesn’t cure EVERYTHING that ails you (such as ex husbands and tight fitting jeans) but anytime my family gets a cold I whip up a batch of this soup and we literally feel better the following day. Even if you are not sick, it is a perfect one-pot meal for any cool fall day and is sure to make your family feel loved. I hope you and yours enjoy it as much as we do.
Active Prep Time: About 1 hour
Cook Time: About 1 hour
- 8 carrots (preferably organic since much of the nutrition is in the peel and you can leave that on if the carrots are organic)
- 6 stalks of celery
- 2 large onions
- 3 leeks
- A whole cut up chicken (preferably organic) (you will want the skin on and bone in because this will make the chicken stock without having to add sodium laden chicken boullion, plus there are healthful properties to the bones and skin)
- Ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup regular olive oil
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1/8 cup chopped fresh dill
- Olive oil
- Wide egg noodles (optional)
Recommended Cooking Tools:
- A large soup pot
- A vegetable cutting board
- Mezzaluna Knife (not required, but highly recommended)
- Vegetable brush (not required, but highly recommended)
Cooking Instructions: Wash and scrub your carrots (preferably with a vegetable brush like the one in my store on my home page). I recommend using organic carrots and leaving the peel on since that is where much of the nutrition is. If you are not using organic carrots, I would recommend peeling them using a vegetable peeler or by simply rubbing the knife blade back and forth along the sides of the carrots.
Tip: I recommend dedicating a cutting board for vegetables only and using a different one for proteins (meats) in order to avoid potential cross contamination. I use color coded ones like the ones I have in my store on my homepage.
Wash, dry and chop the dill and Italian parsley and set it aside alone to dry further. Do not mix the herbs with the chopped vegetables since the herbs will be used in a later step in the cooking process.
Tip: I highly recommend using a mezzaluna knife for chopping herbs. Once you try it you will wonder how you ever lived without this invaluable kitchen tool. It is especially helpful to persons who suffer from arthritis in the hands. I have a couple of nice, yet inexpensive, ones in my store on my homepage.
I save the leeks as the last vegetable to work on because they contain a lot of grit inside them and are sure to mess up your cutting board. Slice off the bottom of each leek and remove the dark green tops which are basically inedible. Wash off any particles that may be attached to the exterior of each leek and place onto the cutting board.
Very Important: place the sliced leeks into a bowl of water and thoroughly swish around to remove all the grit. Be sure to separate the rings to ensure all the grit is removed and then rinse and drain well.
Tip: I always use my trusty salad spinner for this task since it serves as both a soaking bowl and a built-in strainer.
Place 1/4 cup regular olive oil (or enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot but no more than a 1/4 inch deep) into the soup pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (but not smoking) place a few of the chicken pieces into the pot to brown. Do not crowd the pan because you don’t want it to cool down. Remove chicken once the skin is browned and repeat with additional chicken pieces in batches, adding more oil as you go if needed. Remove the chicken and set aside as the skin is browned. Note that you are simply browning the skin at this point (you are not cooking the chicken through).
Note: The turmeric adds a pleasant rich golden color to the soup and is highly anti-inflammatory for your body. It really shouldn’t be skipped. I highly recommend adding turmeric to your spice repertoire and finding as many ways to cook with it as possible (such as in curries, which I will soon feature on this blog).
Add the browned chicken pieces to the vegetables in the pot and add water to cover the chicken and vegetables. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Slowly cook for about 30-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. You want to cook the chicken slowly so that it stays tender and doesn’t toughen up.
Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the chicken pieces and “pull” the meat using two forks, discarding the skin and bones. Alternatively, you could pull the chicken with your hands (but you would have to wait for it to cool down) or you could chop it with a knife.
Once all the chicken is pulled, place it back into the soup pot and stir in the chopped dill, chopped parsley and lemon juice. Check for desired levels of salt and lemon juice and adjust as desired.
Salute! Here’s to your health and well being!