Mommy’s Comfort Food–Chicken Soup

This weekend I contracted a nasty bug that sent me to bed. The difficult part in my recuperation was that we were visiting my mil, so I didn’t have all the comforts of home. When I could finally eat, the only food I wanted was some chicken soup. It was a welcome treat to actually have the same batch of chicken soup I made for my mil a few weeks before when she was recuperating! My gift to her came back as a gift to me!

Interesting thing about chicken soup…it’s a comfort, soothing, healing food and yet with all the myriad of cookbooks I have on my shelves, I don’t think I have more than 3 or 4 cookbooks that have this basic recipe. Progresso and Campbell seemed to have wiped out soup making. I myself always thought making soup was difficult or time-consuming. It’s only been in recent years that I’ve embraced cooking my own soup. And there are so many different types of soups that fit the bill of egg, wheat and milk free meals.

Although the weather is getting warmer and soup isn’t usually on the menu, I recommend a pot of chicken soup for the medicine cabinet. Freeze a batch in small amounts to have on hand for those unexpected family sicknesses–healthier and tastier than opening up a can!

This recipe is adapted from A Continual Feast by Evelyn Birge Vitz

Chicken Soup 1 3-4 pound chicken
2 1/2 quarts water (10 cups) or chicken broth
2-3 teaspoons salt
8 peppercorns
4 cloves (optional)
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 sprigs parsley or dried parsley
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
Vegetables such as:
4 or 5 potatoes, chopped or 1 – 1 1/2 cups raw brown rice or barley
1 cup green beans
4-6 carrots, chopped
1-2 cups of peas (optional)
2 Tablespoons butter (optional)

Cut chicken into serving pieces. Place them in a large pot with the water (or broth) and salt. Bring to a boil. Skim off scum from top.

Place spices in tea ball or cheesecloth and add to water with onion, celery and garlic.

Simmer partially covered until chicken is tender (about 1-2 hours). Remove chicken. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove bones and return meat to pot. Add desired vegetables, simmer for another 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. If adding peas, add only at the last minutes of cooking.

Remove spice bag. Taste for seasoning. Stir in butter if desired.