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Not Your Mama's Chicken Soup

IMG_0885Ok, the holidays are officially over (sad face) and it’s time to get back to being healthy and not acting like gingerbread is a health food.  (I mean, it does have ginger in it…)

If you or a loved one is suffering from a cold or the flu, this is a nice twist on regular ol’ chicken soup.  Plus, everything is made from scratch (including the broth), so you really know what you’re putting in your belly.  Word of caution though — this soup is kind of time consuming (at least, for me it is) and I haven’t figured out how to make it without dirtying like, 1000 dishes, so… be warned.  It does make a whole mess of soup though, so at least there’s that.

Not Your Mama’s Chicken Soup

serves 6-8 (at least)

adapted from a Real Simple recipe

  • 1 3 1/2 – 4lb whole roasting chicken, rinsed with giblets removed**
  • 1 large bunch carrots (I used the whole bag of Trader Joe’s organic carrots)
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt (I used coarse sea salt)
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 14.5 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups dry whole wheat cous cous*
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bunch fresh, flat-leaf Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jar kalamata olives (6.5 oz drained) drained, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  1. In a large stock pot, add whole chicken, 3 carrots + 2 celery ribs (rinsed and cut into large pieces), quartered onion, salt and peppercorns.  Cover fully with water (about 8 cups), then bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, and simmer mixture until chicken is fully cooked (about 30 minutes).  Skim off any foam that collects on the surface.  While the chicken is cooking, rinse, trim and chop the remaining celery and carrots (large dice), and set aside.
  2. Once chicken is cooked, remove it from the broth and set it aside to cool.  Strain out vegetables and peppercorns, then return the broth to the stock pot.
  3. Cook cous cous by adding 2 1/2 cups of water + 1 tsp salt to a pot and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat, add the cous cous, give it a good stir, then cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, remove lid, fluff with a fork and stir in chopped olives and parsley.
  4. Add chopped carrots and celery to the strained broth and bring it to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables have reached desired tenderness  (10-15 minutes).  While the vegetables are cooking, remove chicken from the bone, and shred with forks.  Add shredded chicken and garbanzo beans to the pot during the last 5 minutes of cooking time to heat through.

For serving, you can either just stir the cous cous into the soup pot, or spoon some of the cous cous mixture into bowls, then top with the soup.  Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top and try not to burn the heck out of your mouth like I did.

*To make this gluten free, you can use quinoa instead of cous cous — just cook according to the package directions.

**To make this veg/vegan, omit the chicken entirely and in its place add: 1 bunch green onions (roughly chopped), 8 cloves garlic (roughly chopped), 1 bunch parsley, 1 bunch thyme, and 2 bay leaves to the water to make vegetable stock.  For more flavor, saute the vegetables in some olive oil until just softened and fragrant before adding in the herbs and water.

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