There are very few things as comforting as a bowl of steaming hot farm style chicken soup. Asian chicken soups are dandy and all, but there is something about the no-frills straight up chicken soup that simply screams “nurture my soul!”
In Winter this bad boy is on high rotation in my house. We eat it for breakfast, it goes to school in thermos flasks for lunch and we eat for dinner. Maybe not all in the same day because that’s a little excessive, but you get the picture. This makes an enormous pot.
If your pot is not so big, halve it and use 8 chicken drumsticks instead of a whole bird. I have a spare freezer so I’m all about the batch cook, and freeze for a later date. Then future me will love me one day when I can whip something out of the freezer and essentially get a night off cooking. Winning.
Related post: Gluten free turkey lasagne
This recipe was in my book “Cook Once Feed All” and some readers swear it’s the best chicken soup of their life. Photos of this soup make it onto social media every winter, and families across the world all attest to its ability to be as comforting as a warm hug.
Now you have the recipe, my dear friends, go forth and eat this soup every day of your life.
Read the recipe through first as I cook the stocky bit first so as to not get soggy vegetables.
Farm house Chicken Soup
Yield: An enormous pot full
You will need:
- 1 whole free range chicken, skin on
- 4 carrots, topped and tailed
- 5 stalks celery, chopped, but with the tops and leaves left whole
- 2 leeks, white part only, chopped, the green top part left whole
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1/2 lemon
- 3 bay leaves
- a handful of fresh thyme ( teaspoons-ish dried if it’s all you have)
- 3/4 cup barley
- 2 potatoes, skin on and chopped into cubes
- 2 generous handfuls of beans, cut into thirds
- 1 tablespoon chicken stock powder
What you will do:
Throw your onion, celery tops, carrot tops and tails and leek tops into a big heavy based pot. Add your chicken and cover with water. Squeeze the lemon juice into stock and toss the lemon in to boil. Add thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper and pop on a lid for about two hours or until the chicken is coming away from the bone.
Strain off the liquid, toss all but the bird. Put the chicken into a separate bowl and allow to cool.
Add barley to stock, and potato to stock and give about 10 minutes before adding the rest of your vegetables excluding the beans. The beans go in in the final three minutes so they keep a little al dente. Pick your chicken meat and add to pot. Add stock powder.
If you want to skim the fat off, you can either refrigerate it until the next day so it’s all on the top, or you can lay a piece of kitchen roll on the top of the soup and it absorbs into the paper… I just eat it. Fat equals flavour. Flavour is good.
Season to taste. Serve with crusty bread.
I like to add lemon juice and Tabasco to mine.