My Favorite Chicken Soup

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A little sickness has been making its way through my family. Nothing major- a few days of a low-grade fever and body aches kind of deal. I think we caught it from my nephew when we were out in Colorado; I had it on our return last week, then my daughter over the weekend, and now my son.

Though I am bummed my son had to miss 2 days of school the first week back, I was secretly happy for the excuse to make my favorite chicken soup.


My father Barry Wine (chef/owner of the now-closed Quilted Giraffe restaurant in NYC) showed me how to make this great homemade chicken soup about 10 years ago. It’s become one of my all-time favorite meals, so thanks dad!

Though you don’t at all have to be sick to enjoy this soup, I do recommend it if you are, especially if you add some immune-boosting garlic and ginger to the recipe. Sprinkling your serving with a bit of cayenne powder will also help your immune system.

To vary the taste and for additional health benefits, you can mix some miso (instead of salt) or coconut milk into a serving of soup. Raw cream or crème fraiche can also be added before serving.

Chicken Soup Recipe

1 whole chicken, approx. 3-4 pounds, preferably free-range
1 Tb. butter
1 Tb. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, cleaned and chopped
2-3 parsnips, cleaned well and chopped
1 large turnip, peeled and chopped
1/4-1/2 daikon radish, chopped
Course sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil and butter in a large soup pot. Place chicken in the pot and allow to sear for a minute or so on each side. Add a little water if necessary to prevent the chicken from burning. Add chopped onion and cook for several minutes, moving the chicken around, again adding a little water to prevent burning.

Add the rest of the vegetables, and then add enough water to cover the chicken (about 10 cups). Bring to a boil, skim any foam that rises to the top, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Turn off heat. Carefully remove the chicken and allow to cool in a separate bowl.

If you are going to be serving all of the soup right away, you’ll want to remove the meat from the chicken bones and add it back into the soup (make sure you don’t burn yourself). Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper before serving; you might also want to add some finely chopped greens such as kale (the heat will wilt them down) and/or green onions.

If you are eating just some of the soup right away, I suggest taking the meat off the chicken and then storing it in the refrigerator to add back into individual servings of soup. You can also reserve some of the chicken for another use.

Do not discard your picked-over chicken bones; keep them in the freezer so that you can make chicken stock.

One of the beautiful things about this recipe is that if you are not eating it right away, you can vary it each time you do. Have some with leftover cooked rice or potatoes one day, with coconut milk and some Thai chili sauce added another day, etc.

Today I had some with miso, buckwheat soba noodles, and a pinch of red pepper flakes- it was absolutely delicious!


Do you have a favorite way to make chicken soup or something special you like to add? I’d love to know about it, so please share in the comments section below!

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