A Homemade Chicken Soup made from scratch using a whole chicken, vegetables, and a combination of spices packed with flavor. A recipe every home cook can easily master.
My mother-in-law makes a great chicken soup. It should be called “Dot’s everything but the kitchen sink chicken soup” because she throws whatever she has in the pot and lets it cook. She starts off with a whole chicken, adds vegetables and soup spice packets, and finishes with pasta. I don’t use bouillon or soup spice packets because I like to control and create the seasonings in my cooking. Here, you will find the spices I used contribute all the flavoring and coloring you want and need, naturally. I promise you it’s going to be delicious.
When I first made this soup, I followed her instructions –
- Throw everything in the pot and let it simmer for a few hours.
- Pick and shred the meat and add it back to the pot.
- Discard the bones.
- Add the pasta.
So that’s what I did.
It didn’t occur to me that after adding all the other ingredients – especially the chopped frozen spinach – how difficult it would be to fish out the chicken and the bones with all the vegetables stuck to it. Not to mention the bones were so tender they were falling apart. I had to go through each ladle of soup to pick all the things that had to be removed.
Do you think that was done on purpose????
Therefore, learning the hard way, I now know to add the chicken with the vegetables and spices, cook for an hour or two, then remove the chicken from the stock, and let cool. When cool enough to handle, separate the meat from the bones, shred the meat, and put back into the pot along with the remaining ingredients and continue to cook until pasta is done. You can use a good quality chicken stock or make my homemade for best flavor.
The spices I use are my own creation and replace the pre-packaged spice packets my mother-in-law uses. I’m a stickler for using my own spices. The ginger, thyme, bay leaves, and oregano combination create an amazing flavor when mixed in with the old standbys of onion and garlic, salt and pepper.
Tip: When adding the dry herbs, especially oregano, rub back and forth in between your hands to release the flavor.
Want my other spice concoctions? Try:
I like to use a hefty pasta shape when making this soup. Noodles will bloat and don’t have the heft needed to stand up to a soup that will sit and may be refrigerated or frozen for later use. Yes, I could cook the pasta separately to avoid this, but I’ve never done it that way. I want it done and all ready to go with the option to refrigerate or freeze for later. In all the years I’ve been making soup, I’ve had no problems. That’s because I use farfalle, orzo, or another hefty shaped pasta.
When cooking the pasta, cook for a few minutes less than what packages states. The soup is very hot, therefore, it will continue to cook the pasta. Read more about how to cook pasta here.
I usually start making this in the morning or early afternoon and let it go low and slow for a few hours. Then, I cover and let it sit until dinnertime. Don’t worry about letting it sit as it stays hot for quite some time. The house will smell amazing.
This isn’t a particularly pretty soup. The spices and tomatoes darken the stock and the spinach is scattered throughout. Do you care about how it looks or how it tastes? I can tell you I’ve seen a lot of pretty food that wasn’t very good.
If you can’t have pasta, add 2 pounds of potatoes or just omit the pasta.
This is the perfect meal to cook on a cold rainy day. Make a big pot and keep leftovers in the fridge for lunches. This also freezes well which allows you to have soup whenever you desire.
Thank you, Dot, for the inspiration for creating an incredibly delicious soup.
- Using a 3 ½ - 4 pound chicken giblets removed
- 4 celery stalks chopped - use celery tops for flavor
- 4 carrots chopped
- 1 large onion roughly chopped
- 1 (14 ounce) can of diced tomatoes and their juices
- 8 cups chicken stock preferably homemade
- 4 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt or to taste
- 2 teaspoons granulated onion powder
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano rub in between your hands when adding to release flavor
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach
- 8 ounces pasta your favorite shape farfalle, orzo, etc.
Place the chicken, celery, carrots, onions, tomatoes, stock, water, and all the spices into a large stock pot. Bring to a boil then down to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 1½ hours until the meat is tender and starts to fall off the bone.
Transfer the chicken to a platter or bowl and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard the bones. Pull the meat from the bones into chunks and set aside.
Add the frozen spinach to pot.
Add the pasta and cook for 2 - 3 minutes less than what is stated on package. Add chicken to soup and stir to warm it through. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve and enjoy. Soup will keep for a week in fridge and can be frozen.
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