Not to Brag, But I Created a Truly Magic 5-Ingredient Chicken Soup

Thanks to an unusual (but easy) technique, the broth is insanely flavorful.

Food Network Kitchen’s 5-Ingredient Chicken Pesto Soup, as seen on Food Network.


Food Network Kitchen’s 5-Ingredient Chicken Pesto Soup, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Really incredible chicken soup is as comforting as a fluffy down blanket. But I have noticed that the best recipes are usually labor intensive. They call for a lot of ingredients and time to make the stock from scratch — after all, the broth is the main part of the soup you end up tasting. Enter magic 5-Ingredient Chicken Pesto Soup, which totally turns this correlation on its head.

Let me back up a little. Part of my job at Food Network is developing recipes for a series of videos that’s published on Instagram and Facebook. For this series, I pitched a video on comforting 5-ingredient soups that come together with barely any effort, as if by magic. Of course, I added chicken soup to the list because I selfishly wanted an incredible, silly easy version to exist (that required no special equipment to pull off). It was pretty challenging to create 5-ingredient soups because I was determined to count salt and pepper as ingredients. Usually we count these ingredients as "free" since you likely already have them, but I wanted these to be even more constrained — and, as such, creative. I’m pretty proud of what I came up with.

Here’s the secret. Instead of instructing you how to make homemade stock, or simply asking you to use store-bought stock, the recipe asks you to simmer bone-in chicken thighs in store-bought stock. You dump a carton of stock into a pot with some chicken thighs, bring it to a simmer and walk away for a half an hour. Do some laundry or whatever. During that hands-off time, the chicken reinforces the stock with more flavor and gently cooks until it’s so tender it’s practically falling off the bone. The end result is a soup base with tons of aromatic, chicken-y flavor — more flavor than I’ve ever even tasted in homemade chicken stock.

You’ll then shred the chicken and simply stir in spinach, pesto (store-bought is fine) and salt. Pesto is one of those sneaky compound ingredients that’ll totally brighten the soup because it’s actually made out of herbs, garlic, oil and Parmesan — flavor building blocks. I have, however, made the soup without pesto, mixing in noodles instead, which creates a more classic chicken soup flavor profile and really lets that broth base shine through. One of the many great things about this soup is that you can customize it because it’s so simple. But you’ll probably have to try it for yourself just to make sure. Curious about the other 5-ingredient soups? Check out 5-Ingredient Apple-Butternut Squash Soup and 5-Ingredient Creamy White Bean Soup.

Three Magic 5-Ingredient Soups
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