When you're sick, canned soup just won't do the trick like homemade soup does. I know that cooking is the last thing you want to do when you're infected with the office bug, but if you make a big pot of soup, you'll have homemade soup for days and you can go right back to the couch for your Breaking Bad marathon…no, I've never seen the show…yes, I'm serious. You don't have to add in both parsnips and turnips, you can pick one. You can also choose between parsley and dill, although I recommend choosing dill for that classic chicken soup flavor. Make your soup as easy or as complex as you want to. I made mine recently with no parsley and no parsnips and it was soup-er dooper. You can also chop the vegetables any way you like. I always leave my vegetables in large pieces that I cut through with a spoon as I eat my soup; it’s the way my mom makes chicken soup, so naturally I do it the same way.
Makes 6-8 servings
1 whole chicken (3 to 4 lbs), any string or innards should be removed and discarded
1 large yellow onion, halved
6 large carrots, cut into 3-4 inch pieces
4 large celery sticks, tough strings removed, cut into 3-4 inch pieces
2 large turnip, cut into a few large pieces
2 large parsnip, quartered
3 large cloves garlic
Freshly cracked black pepper
1-2 sprigs dill
3-4 sprigs parsley
1 parmesan rind (optional)
1/4 cup dry tiny pasta like orzo, risi, pastina, elbow or stellini (per person, per serving)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
1. In a large stockpot, add the chicken, onion, carrots, celery, turnip, parsnip and garlic. Fill the pot with water to just cover the chicken. Add a generous amount of salt (2-3 teaspoons) and pepper which you can add more of later when the soup is cooked enough to taste.
2. Place the dill, parsley and parmesan rind on the top of the soup for easy removal later.
3. Cover the pot and turn on the burner to high heat. When the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium so that you have a nice simmer going on.
4. Cook the soup for about 30 minutes, skimming off and discarding any fat or scum that rises to the top of the pot.
5. Pull out the chicken and transfer it to a platter. Remove all the meat you can (making sure to avoid fat, skin and bones) and shred it.
6. Using tongs, remove the parsley, dill, parmesan rind and onion from the soup and discard them.
7. Check for any stray chicken parts, fat, etc and remove from the pot.
8. Add the shredded chicken back into the soup. Taste the soup to make sure it's salty enough, adding more salt little by little until the soup is nicely seasoned.
9. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add in enough pasta for however many servings of soup you'll be eating (you can also make extra pasta for the next few days). Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, but reduce the cooking time by a minute or two. Slightly under-cooking the pasta will keep it al dente in the soup later. Drain the pasta and set it aside (Don't add it to the pot of soup because it’ll get soggy. Only add it to individual servings of soup and save the remaining cooked pasta in an airtight container separate from the soup).
10. Serve the soup in individual bowls, adding in a few scoops of the pasta and topping with shaved Parmesan and fresh herbs if you wish.
11. Get well soon.
Store leftover soup in an airtight container and chill it in an ice bath before placing it in the fridge (putting hot items in the fridge will lower the temperature in your fridge). Store the pasta in a separate air tight container. When you want to reheat the soup, remove and discard the layer of chicken fat that will collect on the top of the chilled soup.