Got the blues? Cold outside? Feeling not quite yourself? This is the soup for you. It’s what I make for my husband every time he’s down with a cold, and the one I pack up and deliver to friends who are under the weather or in need of some nutritional comfort. It can take hours or minutes, depending on your choice of broth options and chicken selected. Another bonus: exchange gluten-free spaghetti noodles for regular pasta, and you’re all set to feed your gluten-free family and friends. Still tastes just right, whichever route you take.
If we take the longer route, we’ll cook a whole chicken and make some delicious broth while we’re at it. Grab a chicken, grab a pot, add some water and a bunch of aromatics. For this one we used onion, carrot, celery, and then scrounged around the herb beds at home to come up with a bundle of bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme. There are also some red and black peppercorns and plenty of salt. All this gets simmered until the chicken is cooked through, then strain off the liquid and there’s your broth. Set the chicken aside until he’s cooled, pull the meat off the bones and cut into nice big chunks.
While all of that is going on, get your vegetables chopped for the soup itself. We’re going with onions, celery, carrots and yellow peppers. Feel free to use whatever sounds good. Many like to add sautéed mushrooms which is a good strategy if you happen to be in the mood for them.
Chicken ready? Check. Broth ready? Check. Vegetables chopped? Check. Haul out a big soup pot, sauté the onions until soft, then toss in the other vegetables.
Pour the broth over the top and let simmer until everything comes together. Once the vegetables are softened, add your chicken and the already cooked and rinsed spaghetti noodles (if you add the noodles straight out of the package and cook them in the broth, your soup will be kind of muddy looking and will get super-thick due to all that starch – however it will still taste delicious so go for it if you want). Another way to thicken the soup is to add a cornstarch ‘slurry’ (the details are in the recipe below). You guessed it – all that’s left is diving right on in.
Go on, have another bowl.
Hope you enjoy this one! xoxo
- FOR THE BROTH
- 1 whole chicken),skinned and quartered
- 3-4 carrots, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3-4 big ribs of celery, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 onion, peeled, halved and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and whole peppercorns to taste
- FOR THE SOUP
- Reserved broth from section above. NOTE: If you didn’t make broth, just use the equivalent amount of store-bought broth of your choice.
- Cooked and cooled chicken parts from section above that have been cut into large bite-sized pieces. NOTE: It’s fine to add raw, cut up boneless chicken pieces to the broth instead of the reserved cooked chicken – check directions below.
- 1 -2 bay leaves
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 3-4 large ribs of celery, sliced diagonally
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 1 large yellow or orange pepper, cut into ½ inch dice
- ½ pound spaghetti noodles, broken into thirds, and then boiled in salted water until al dente, drained, rinsed, and reserved. NOTE: Use gluten-free spaghetti noodles to make this soup for your gluten-free friends and family.
- Approximately 2-4 Tablespoons Cornstarch (optional)
- FOR THE BROTH
- Place the chicken in a large stockpot and fill with enough cold water to cover the chicken.
- Add vegetables, garlic, bay leaves, and salt and pepper.
- Bring to boil, and then reduce to simmer until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are soft.
- Remove chicken and set aside.
- Drain broth and discard vegetables. Cool both chicken and broth.
- When chicken has cooled, remove from bones and cut into nice big chunks.
- NOTE: It’s perfectly fine to use canned chicken broth. Just skip this step and proceed to the next section.
- FOR THE SOUP
- In a large stockpot, sauté onion until softened and starting to caramelize
- Add chicken broth and bring to a low boil.
- Add carrots, celery, peppers, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Reduce to simmer and cook until tender.
- Remove bay leaves
- Stir in cooked chicken. (If using raw chicken pieces, add them now and cook until just cooked through)
- Stir in cooked and reserved spaghetti noodles.
- If you prefer a more brothy soup, stop here. Check for seasoning and you are done.
- If you prefer a thicker soup with a heartier consistency, it’s time to add the Cornstarch Slurry. Add 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch to a small bowl. Slowly add and whisk in ¼ cup cold water. Stir until mixture is completely smooth.
- Gradually stir this slurry into the hot soup mixture (just start with half of it to make sure the soup doesn’t get too thick). Bring to boil and boil for one minute, then reduce to simmer. If soup is thick enough, you are done. If not, add the remaining slurry and repeat the steps above. NOTE: if you boil a cornstarch thickened soup for too long, the thickening will break down so keep to a simmer if you can.