Makes: 6 servings
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 1 hr
- 2 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken breast halves, skin removed
- 1 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 onions, peeled and quartered
- 2 large carrots, peeled and halved crosswise
- 2 large ribs celery, halved crosswise
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- In a stockpot, add the chicken, stock, salt and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil; skim. Lower the heat and add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and peppercorns. Partially cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked, about 1 hour.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board; let cool, then shred (discard the bones). Transfer the carrots and half of the celery and onions to a bowl, then dice into bite-size pieces.
- Strain the broth through a sieve into a bowl, pressing down to extract any juices; discard the solids. Skim the surface of the broth and discard any fat. Return the chicken and vegetables to the pot, add the broth and reheat over medium heat until simmering.
- In a pinch, use rotisserie chicken. Discard the skin and shred by hand, then pass the remaining wings and drumsticks at the table. Serve the soup in a whole grain bread bowl.
- Omit the onions and carrots and add mushrooms, the white of 1 lemongrass stalk, the juice of 4 limes, 2 chopped thai chiles, 1 can unsweetened low-fat coconut milk, 1 tbsp. fish sauce and 1 1/2 tsp. raw sugar. Top with sliced scallions
- Replace the bone-in chicken breasts and thighs with skinless, boneless breasts and use low-sodium chicken broth. Use fresh dill instead of thyme and add 1/2 lb. of your favorite cooked whole wheat noodles.
- Replace the onions and carrots with canned fire-roasted tomatoes and black beans, and use cilantro leaves instead of thyme. Add sliced jalapenos, sliced avocado and shredded tortillas.
- Big, bold flavors will evoke the warmest memories. Pull in some from other cuisines: basil and parmesan, ginger and chili sauce, or chorizo and saffron.
- Swap out the carrots and celery for one 14.5-oz. can chopped stewed tomatoes. Add ricotta dumplings: Mix 1 cup ricotta, 1 cup parmesan and 1/2 cup flour; add to the simmering soup and cook, 5 minutes. Top with basil.
- Add ground coriander and fish sauce. Replace the raw onions with caramelized onions and 1 tbsp. grated ginger. Cook rice noodles in the broth. Top with chili sauce, bean sprouts and mint; serve with lime wedges.
- Add browned sliced chorizo and 1 pinch saffron. Cook long-grain rice in the broth. Add 1 cup each peeled shrimp and frozen peas. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- To make soup a day ahead, cut up the chicken and veggies and wrap and refrigerate them. let the broth cool, then refrigerate that, too. Skim any fat from the top before reheating.
- Mix 1/2 lb. lean ground beef, 1 egg, 1/4 cup grated parmesan and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper; form into 1/2-inch balls. Add to broth with the cooked chicken and veggies; simmer for 10 minutes. Add cooked alphabet pasta, white beans and marinara.
- Squeeze the moisture out of 5 oz. cooked chopped baby spinach. Drizzle 2 beaten eggs into the simmering broth while stirring constantly to make "shreds" of egg. Add the spinach and a pinch of grated nutmeg. Serve with grated parmesan.
- Heat 3 tbsp. vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat; stir in 1/3 cup flour until golden, 7 minutes. Add diced bell pepper and onion; cook until softened. Whisk into soup with 8 oz. cooked chopped andouille and 1 thawed package chopped okra; simmer, 10 minutes.