Soups and stews are the quintessential winter warmer in all their heartiness and comforting aroma.
Homemade chicken soup is wholesome and nourishing, comforting and familiar. As the autumn leaves fall and the winter days have their turn, eating well is part of taking really good care of yourself.
This chicken soup is made by poaching the whole chicken first and reserving the water to use as the stock. Poaching the whole chicken on the bone is not only cost effective, it is a powerhouse of nutrition including gelatin, collagen, amino acids and minerals. If it is available, the addition of a few chicken feet is a great way to add extra flavour, give an extra kick of gelatin and collagen as well as honour the whole animal.
Soups are a great was to sneak in extra vegetables and reduce food waste by using up what may have been neglected and left to wilt in the refrigerator.
Heartwarming Chicken Soup
Place whole chicken in a large pot and pour over chicken broth adding extra water as needed until chicken is completely covered. Add bay leaves, the tops of the celery, one diced onion, salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer on low heat (roughly 1 hour) until chicken easily comes away from the bones.
While chicken simmers, chop the remaining vegetables and set aside. Chunkier vegetables will take longer to cook and result in a chunkier soup while finely chopped vegetables will cook quicker.
Once chicken is cooked, strain poaching liquid from the chicken into a large bowl. This liquid is now the powerhouse broth that you will use for the soup.
Set chicken aside to cool.
In the same large pan used to simmer the chicken place over medium heat and add butter and a splash of olive oil. Once melted together add the chopped onion and garlic with salt, pepper and thyme cooking until translucent, stirring occasionally.
Next add the chopped carrot and celery and pour reserved broth into the pan. Cover and let simmer until carrots are cooked through. Roughly 30 minutes
While the veggies simmer, remove the meat from the chicken separating bones and skin from meat (discard bones and skin). Chop or shred the cooked chicken.
Once vegetables are cooked through add in the shredded chicken and chopped greens of choice. This will be more the consistency of stew and thicken once cooled due to the gelatin content. If you like more of a soup texture you can simply add more water or chicken stock when you are simmering the vegetables.
Get cosy and nourish yourself with this winter warmer!