My Mother's Cooking - Homemade Chicken Soup
Homemade Chicken Soup
My Mother's Cooking
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
When I was growing up, my mother made chicken soup quite often because it was one of my father’s favorite meals. Another reason was because we raised chickens for eggs and therefore chicken soup was an inexpensive meal.
However, my father quickly grew tired of killing the chickens, so we began buying the chickens in stores like everyone else.
In those days you didn’t have to worry about chickens being fed growth hormones and they weren’t mass-produced in tiny cages. The term "free range chicken" had no meaning then.
There were basically only two types of chickens, fryers and soup chickens. Fryers were smaller, less than a year old and raised specifically for frying and roasting.
Soup chickens were often older hens that no longer laid a lot of eggs. If you fried them, they tended to be tough, but they made delicious soup. Consult with your butcher as to which chickens you should use for soup.
My mother would begin cooking her soup early in the day. She would put the cut up chicken in a pot with onions, carrots, celery and parsley and simmer the contents until the chicken was ready to fall off of the bone.
Then she would strain out the liquid and let it cool for awhile so that she could remove any excess fat. The vegetables that she cooked with were discarded as I remember but the chicken was always saved and served for supper along with the soup.
Finally she made her homemade egg noodles that I describe in a separate Hub. She cooked them right in the chicken broth shortly before supper so that they would absorb some of the flavor.
I liked the soup but I was never to fond of the boiled chicken itself. However the rest of my family seemed to love it and there was never very much chicken left over.
Some people prefer to remove the skin and de-bone the chicken before adding it back to the soup. That seems like a lot of work to me and many people, like my dad and mother, ate the skin, too.
1 Large Soup Chicken (about 3-4 pounds)
2 Onions (peeled and cut into quarters)
2 Carrots (scraped and cut into one inch chunks)
2 Stalks of Celery (trimmed and cut into two inch lengths)
2 Stalk of Parsley
1 Tablespoon of Salt
12 Whole Allspice
Water to cover plus about a quart more
- Cut up the chicken into serving size pieces and rinse thoroughly,
- Do not throw out the neck or any other pieces. They all add flavor to the soup.
- Trim the onions, carrots, celery and parsley.
- Place all of the ingredients in a large, covered soup kettle and simmer gently for about two hours until the meat is tender and ready to come off of the bone.
- From time to time, skim off any foam and debris that comes to the surface with a slotted spoon. It helps if you don’t boil the soup but simmer it gently.
- Remove the chicken pieces to another plate using a slotted spoon and strain the remaining using a colander or a large strainer. Discard the solids.
- At this point it would help if you can refrigerate the broth so that the fat will sol
- idify making it easier to remove.
- Meanwhile you can prepare homemade egg noodles if you like. You could substitute good quality store bought egg noodles or you could just serve the soup with boiled potatoes, which my mother sometimes did.
- Reheat the soup after removing the fat and cook the noodles right in the simmering broth before adding the chicken back to re-heat it.
- My mother usually only served her homemade bread or rolls with this soup.
If you want to make homemade noodles like my mother made them, see:
My Mothers Cooking Homemade Egg Noodles
Chicken Soup Video
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