- whole chicken 4-5lb
- Onions 2 cups, chopped
- Celery 1 bunch, chopped
- Garlic 5 cloves , minced
- Carrots 4 cups, chopped into coins
- leeks 4, chopped
- Bay leaves 2
- Dried thyme 1 tsp
- Pepper 1/4 tsp
- parsley flakes 1 1/2 tsp dried
- Water, as needed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Nothing conjures up feelings of comfort on a cold day like a proper, old-fashioned chicken soup!
This is basically a one-pot soup, as you cook your chicken whole first, then add the meat and veggies back into the stock left from cooking the chicken. With fragrant herbs and garlic, as well as tender chicken and vegetables, this soup is filling and inexpensive to make.
There’s enough for leftovers too – and if you leave this soup to the next day in the fridge, it gives the flavors time to develop and it becomes even more delicious!
Find the largest pot you have – one that the chicken fits comfortably into.
Put your chicken into the pot and cover with water.
Add a little salt and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a good rolling boil for a few minutes, lower the heat right down. Put the lid on and let it cook for about 1.5 hours on the stove.
Open the pot and check to see how the chicken is doing. When the meat is fairly tender and starts to come off the chicken it's time for the next step.
Using tongs or another kitchen tool, remove the chicken from the pot and set on a large plate. The only thing that should be left in the pot is the liquid.
While the chicken cools for a couple minutes so you can work with it easier, skim off some of the fat that's accumulated on the surface of the pot. You don't have to remove it all since it does give the soup a great flavor.
Using a fork and knife, remove as much meat as possible from the chicken and drop it into the pot. Do not cut the meat into chunks – let the meat naturally come apart as it continues the cooking process.
Make sure that you add the leg and wing bones to the pot along with the meat. The bones are extremely important in making the soup taste perfect.
Once all the meat is removed from the chicken you can discard the unused parts.
Now add the vegetables, garlic and herbs to the pot.
Add some water to the pot until the veggies, etc. are covered.
4Bring to a rolling boil once more for a couple minutes, and add chicken stock cubes if using.
Lower the heat right down, cover and let it cook for between 40 minutes to 1 hour.
Stir the soup a couple times while it cooks.
At the end of cooking give the soup a taste and add a little more salt and pepper to taste.
Let it cook for a couple more minutes and remove the leg bones and bay leaves.
Making a homemade soup from scratch does take some time but the end result is totally worth it. You don’t need to watch the pot all the time, so you can go off and let it cook, and come back to it when you need to do the next step.
As you cook the chicken soup, you may need to keep adding water occasionally to the pot as it evaporates with the steam.
The most important thing to remember when making a homemade chicken soup from scratch is to put those chicken leg and wing bones back into your stock pot as you cook the soup with the rest of the veggies and meat – they really make a difference to the taste.
Feel free to experiment with different types of veggies, or try adding some cooked pearl barley to the pot near the end of the cooking time for a more substantial stew.