Monday, September 21, 2015

The Only 3 Chicken Soup Recipes You Will Ever Need

Photo: happyhousewifery,com 
Today is a Chicken Soup Kind of day. 

I've had my office door opened as I work, and a breeze just drifted right in that said "Chicken Soup!" So I stopped right in the middle of writing to put a (very large) pot on the stove, as my mom and grandmother never did teach me the art of cooking in small batches!

While the batch I made today was rich and incorporated some produce that needed to get used up, I have 3 "go to" recipes for chicken soup, ranging from the very simple to the more complex that I would like to pass on to my wonderful readers today.

There is something nostalgic, grounding and satisfying about chicken soup. No matter how you make it-in vats or single servings, I think we all can agree that coming home and opening your door to the aroma of a fresh pot of soup on the stove, does wonders after a long day.

Use these recipes as is or as starters to experiment with your own versions.


Star Soup:

As a young child I caught many colds and infections, one being strep throat.
Photo: Pastina

My mother would make me some simple chicken broth with Star Pastina to nurse me back to health. ("Pastina" literally means "little pasta".)

Mom simply heated to boiling 2, 16 oz cans of Campbell Chicken Broth, and added 1/2 cup star pastina. Cook this about 2 minutes and you're done. She would shake a bit of dried parsley and grated Romano cheese on top for color.

My late mother in law made a similar soup - only she used 2, 32 oz boxes of Gardella's Ravioli Company, (Vineland NJ) rather than pastina. Heat broth to boiling and add tortellini. They are cooked when they start to float to the top. Add some shredded romano cheese, a twist of freshly ground pepper and enjoy!
Stock Photo: Tortellini
Swanson broth, and a pound of cheese tortellini from

One of my daughter's favorite memories is of her Nonnie making Tortelini soup for her. Mmmm...mmmm. GOOD!




Grandmom's Chicken Ceci Soup:

Ceci (chay-zhee) are Chickpeas- and this rustic soup starts with a home-made broth, that is definitely worth the effort, but you may use canned broth in a pinch, to save some time.

To make the broth:
Place 8-12 cups cold water in a large stock pot. Add 2 lbs (skin removed) chicken parts, with bones. (I prefer thighs and breasts, but any combination will work.) Add: 2 ribs celery chopped, 2 small onions chopped, 1 small clove garlic sliced in half lengthwise, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp tri-colored peppercorns, 1 TBS salt and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 1 -2 hours until the chicken is no longer pink. Allow to cool. Remove chicken and set aside for soup or refrigerate for leter. Strain broth into another pot, or into smaller containers for storage. Keeps up to a month in refrigerator or a year in freezer.

To make the Soup:
In a 3 quart soup pot or Dutch Oven, saute 1/2 chopped onion in 2 Tbs olive oil. Add 1/2 cup sliced carrots and a small clove of garlic, sliced in half lengthwise. Saute vegetables about 5 minutes, on low heat, taking care to not burn them. Add 2, 16 oz cans of (drained) chickpeas (ceci) and briefly stir to blend. Add 8 cups of chicken broth, and a dash of ground oregano & rosemary. Simmer on medium for 15 minutes until carrots are tender. Add 3 cups Ditalini (tube) pasta and cook until tender.
Stock Photo: Ditalini





Finish by adding the shredded chicken (reserved from making the broth), a dash of black pepper, a sprinkle of sliced green onions and a shake of grated cheese. Enjoy with plenty of Italian rolls with butter.

(I realize a 'dash' and a 'shake' are vague measurements-I would guess each would amount to about 1/16 of a teaspoon? but please go by your own taste. My mother and grandmother never measured-they just created! I tend to cook in much the same manner, using what ingredients I have on hand, and substituting when the mood strikes me, being guided by taste and mood rather than exact quantities.)


Barb's Chicken Vegetable Soup:

(A versatile recipe that can be adjusted to what you have on hand. This combination is what is on my stove right now.)

In a 3 quart soup pot place one small chopped yellow onion, a small chopped bell pepper, a small rib of chopped celery, 5-6 carrots peeled and chopped, 2 cloves garlic sliced in half lengthwise, a small zucchini chopped, and 3 TBS olive oil. Stir and saute vegetables until aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add 2 quarts of broth (homemade as in above recipe or canned) 1 TBS salt and bring to boiling.

Lower to a simmer and cook about 20-30 minutes adding 3-4 chopped plum tomatoes during the last 10 minutes. Add shredded cooked chicken (and egg noodles if desired) and mix well. Serve with warm Garlic bread.

(A variation of this recipe is to use wild rice in place of egg noodles. I prefer wild rice and my husband prefers egg noodles. What I do, is boil the rice (2 cups) or noodles (1/2 bag) separately and allow everyone to add into their soup what they prefer. )



Do you ahve a favorite Chicken soup recipe? Please share it with us below!