It looks like the first major snow storm of the winter is going to hit the east coast over the next few days. In preparation for a cozy weekend inside, I’ve decided to cook (and share) my Cure-all Chicken Soup.
I make this soup all winter long…at the slightest cough or sniffle my family knows there will be a steady diet of mom’s chicken soup and orange juice.
Years ago I started with Ina’s Chicken Noodle Soup recipe and over time I’ve made changes because I needed a higher caloric, nutrient-rich version for my two very active girls. With school, sports, gymnastics, friends – they literally don’t stop moving from morning to bedtime. (Side note – gymnastics is a sport but my girls are so dedicated that it warrants it’s own call out.)
Confession: I don’t always use Ina’s chicken stock recipe. With that said, I ONLY use Trader Joe’s Chicken Broth. I’ve tried all the others and Trader Joe’s is the best store-bought option.
I always add cubes of Parmesan cheese to the soup as it simmers. The flavor isn’t really detectable but it adds a warmth that I love and it just makes the soup taste better!
Instead of noodles, I make brown rice on the side and add the rice to each bowl as I serve. This allows me to save the soup for another day or freeze leftovers. Once the soup is cool, I store the leftovers in plastic containers to either freeze or refrigerate. Usually a big pot of soup will last us a couple of days, but I always have some frozen in case a cold sneaks up on us!
I’m always looking for new ways to change up the recipe and up the health factor – I welcome your suggestions and advice!
1 whole (or 2 split) chicken breast – bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper
3 quarts chicken stock (click here for Ina’s recipe)
2 cup diced celery – approximately 2 stalks
1 cup diced carrots – approximately 3 carrots
4 cups leeks - thinly sliced
3 cups diced butternut squash
5 cups chopped spinach
2 1-inch cubes of Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups cooked brown rice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place chicken on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. When cool enough to handle, discard the skin, remove meat from the bones, and dice into small pieces.
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot and add celery, carrots, leeks, butternut squash, spinach, and Parmesan cubes. Simmer covered for 1-2 hours (the longer it simmers, the better is tastes). Next add parsley and diced chicken and continue to simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Serve each bowl with a scoop of brown rice and season to taste. I also add a sprinkle of grated Parmesan to each bowl.