Go-To Chicken Soup

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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8 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock

One 3-pound chicken, quartered into 2 leg pieces and 2 breast pieces, on the bone, skin removed (save the back to make chicken stock)

Kosher salt

2 to 3 small carrots, thinly sliced

3 stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced, leaves roughly chopped

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley


  1. Make the broth: Add the broth and 4 cups water to a large soup pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Submerge the chicken pieces into the broth. When the broth starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the breast and tenderloin start to separate, about 10 minutes, and then remove with tongs or a large strainer. Continue simmering the leg pieces until the meat pulls away from the bone, about 10 more minutes. Remove the legs from the pot. Allow to cool just enough to handle the meat.
  2. Prep the chicken: Shred the chicken pieces by hand and reserve the meat. (You can reserve the chicken bones to start or reinforce another stock.) Strain the broth if desired.
  3. Finish the soup: Add the carrots and celery stalks and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the shredded chicken. When just heated through, after about 3 minutes, remove from the heat. Season with salt, stir in the parsley and celery leaves and serve.
  4. Chicken Noodle Soup
  5. Make the broth and prep the chicken for Go-To Chicken Soup, but this time cut 3 carrots, 3 celery stalks and the chicken into small dice. Add to the broth and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add 6 ounces medium-wide egg noodles and cool until al dente, about 6 minutes. Before serving, stir in 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh parsley and fresh dill.
  6. Chicken Tortellini Soup
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off a head of garlic and rub with olive oil and salt. Wrap in foil and bake until very soft, 45 to 55 minutes. Meanwhile, make the broth and prep the chicken for the Go-To Chicken Soup. Squeeze out the garlic and mash into a paste before whisking into the broth along with 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary. Add the chicken, carrots and celery and cook over medium heat until tender, 8 minutes. Add 8 ounces of your favorite tortellini and cook until tender, another 8 minutes. Serve with pecorino Romano over top.
  8. Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup
  9. Make the broth and prep the chicken for the Go-To Chicken Soup. Add the chicken, carrots, celery and 3/4 cup long grain rice and cook over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Add 1 cup diced tomato and cook another 5 minutes. Before serving stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro and the juice of 2 limes. Garnish with additional cilantro.
  10. Asian Chicken Soup
  11. Make the broth and prep the chicken for the Go-To Chicken Soup, with the addition of a 3-inch piece of sliced fresh ginger in the broth. Discard the ginger. Add the chicken, carrots and celery and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Saute 2 cups quartered shiitake caps in 1 teaspoon peanut oil until soft, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the broth with 1 sliced small bok choy, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 2 teaspoons Asian chili garlic sauce. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
  12. Chicken and Dumpling Soup
  13. For the dumplings, whisk together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon each onion powder and salt and 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives. Cut in 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter until pea-size bits form. Stir in 1 cup milk. Set aside and make the broth and prep the chicken for Go-To Chicken Soup. Add the carrots and celery and simmer until tender, 8 minutes. Make a paste of 3 tablespoons each softened butter and flour. Divide into 4 balls. Whisk each ball into the soup for a minute each. Add the chicken and 1 1/2 cups frozen peas. Return to a simmer, and spoon large tablespoons of dumpling dough into the soup, without overlapping. Cover and steam over medium heat until cooked through, 8 minutes.
  14. Matzo Ball Soup
  15. Whisk together 4 eggs, 1/3 cup room temperature chicken fat, 1/4 cup each seltzer and finely chopped fresh parsley and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt in a medium bowl. Stir in 1 1/4 cups matzo meal and refrigerate 2 hours. Form into 16 balls. Gently slip the balls in a large pot of boiling salted water, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until cooked through, about 40 minutes. Add the matzo balls to Go-To Chicken Soup.

Cook’s Note

If using the soup the next day, allow to cool and refrigerate overnight. Skim the fat, and then simmer the soup over medium-high heat before serving.

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