It is so cold and so many people are unwell. It's time to make chicken soup. A really good chicken soup is wonderful. I've heard it called Antibiotic soup because it is so good for anyone sick with the flu.
I make this as a regular winter soup but I make it and try and keep some on hand for anytime someone is unwell.
It is truly nourishing and I think it's the onion, garlic and broth that is a boost to your immune system which is what you need when you are sick.
I'm going to share my way of making it that is really easy. And flexible.
I use the crock pot as that is by far the easiest.
This makes at least several litres of soup.
In a large crock pot throw around 2 cups dried soup beans. I use a mix of a finer soup mix and also a larger one with lima beans and kidney beans etc. You can use what you like or what you have or even just barley.
Throw in one or two chopped onions, several chopped fresh garlic. (I do 4 to 6 but you could do more) a couple of bay leaves, a few carrots chopped, a cup or so of celery chopped. (I save all celery tops and leaves in the freezer chopped up, when I make this soup I toss a whole lot in as celery tops make the best stock ever!) I add parsley, pepper.
I drain a tin or corn and that goes in.
Now your chicken... you can use a whole chicken or parts. Or just drumsticks (as they are often cheapest) or just fillets. If you use a whole chicken you will need to get it out and all the bones and then let it cool so you can lift off the fat that will set at the top. So usually I use a couple of fillets as there is virtually no fat. And then I can serve it at the end of the first day. And no bones to fish out. For economy one chicken fillet is enough for a whole pot of soup. It is nice to do more but you don't have to.
Cover with your stock. This can be water with stock cubes added. Purchased or homemade stock. Water and dry chicken soup mixture or a tin or two of chicken soup. Any of these or a combination work. Your ingredients are going to make a basic stock into a much richer stock.
If I am doing this I like to fill up the crock pot! It freezes well, can go to work or school in a thermo and make a couple of dinners. If it is for dinner I will serve garlic bread, cornbread or a toasted sandwich even. Or make a desert like a baked egg custard for further goodness.
Pop it on and let soup simmer all day. I usually boil the kettle so the water I add at the beginning is hot. This gets things off to a faster start. This is wonderful to come home to! Break up chicken with a spoon at the end of the day. Taste and season and add more flavour if you want to ie sometimes I will add a packet of chicken noodle soup or stock cubes. Fish out your bay leaves. Did you know bay leaves impart strong health giving properties? Very important to use them.
You can add a cup of dry pasta to this. For kids add a novelty or alphabet pasta a couple of hours before serving. They seem to love this.
It will be a thick delicious soup. It is very flexible, use what you have. Honestly as long as you have a little chicken and garlic I think they are the most important bits.
This can be served as a chunky soup. I usually do it this way. Sometimes it's so chunky it's almost a stew.
Or you can blend it. Some children like smooth soups better. If I was planning to blend it I would happily add left over roast vegies, potato or anything else on hand as it will only add to it. Thats the beauty, you can use things up, use whats in special and pack in so much wholesome food to feed your family.
Many things will come from my freezer. The leaves and tops of celery that I chopped and bagged when I was using celery for something else, left over vegies I chopped because they were going to go to waste. Left over parsley that was getting tired or half an onion chopped that was too much another night. It's all saved in snap lock bags and when soup is on it all goes in! All these bits and pieces build a beautiful stock and add so much goodness. And for free if they would have been thrown out otherwise.
Either way it is so good and healthy.
You might have a family chicken soup recipe and I would love to hear your version. But for some it is daunting without a family recipe as there seem to be so many ingredients! Truly some days as long as I get the water, beans and chicken in by 10 am I will add something every time I go past the kitchen all day, chop some carrots, chop some celery... just keep on adding! It turns out just fine. Or you could do it the night before, keep it all in the fridge and put it on in the morning.
On the weekend Chloe came over and I gave her the container here with the green lid. It was enough for three meals. The others I froze. And there was enoguh for three meals in the fridge. It is thick and filling.
Some basic soups really help the budget and get an enormous amount of vegies into the family. Soup is also comforting. Soup reminds me of my Nan and Mum has always soups in winter. And nothing is wasted, my vegie bits and pieces make their way into a yummy meal.
Now I am going to have soup for lunch it is a freezing cold day and it keeps me feeling full.
Then I have to pop to the shops. If there are any amazing specials on vegies this will probably determine what my next soup will be! xxx