Gwinn in MN

Stupid things faster, with more energy

Soup for you!

Posted by chrisgwinn on June 9, 2008

Our CSA share from La Finca will start up soon. I’ve been feeling like I’m stuck in a cooking rut, and there’s nothing like being handed random vegetables to break you out of it. I’ve also been feeling like I’d like to blog more, since the place I used to write things has apparently vanished. So food blogging it is. I’m going to try to come up with (and post about) at least one dish a week.

This week we get an old favorite while waiting for the farm share to start up – an old soup recipe from my mother’s mother, modified with some recent changes I’ve made.

Yup – chicken soup. Not exactly a summer recipe, for sure, but good regardless.  Also the only dish I happened to have pictures of handy.


  • 1 broiler/fryer chicken (about four pounds), cut in pieces.  Mom usually skinned it, I tend to just remove the larger fat deposits and partially skin it
  • 1-2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped.
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in wedges
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns.  If you don’t like whole peppercorns in your soup, wrap them in some cheesecloth first
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (yes, yes, no such thing.  blah blah blah.  Just use the stuff in the jar)
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2-3 large carrots, cut in 1/2″ pieces.
  • 2-3 celery stalks, cut in 1/2″ pieces (with leafy ends)
  • 1 package extra wide egg noodles

There are two options for the first step.  The way I do it now is really only feasible if you happen to have two appropriate-sized pots.

Mom’s way: Mom would always put the salt and chicken in a large soup pot, add cold water up to 1 inch from the top of the pot and bring it to a boil.  Then you drop it to medium-low and skim.  Do this for about ten minutes, then add everything that isn’t the carrots and celery.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

My way: I have two appropriately-sized pots and I borrowed a trick from New Best Recipe’s chicken stock recipe.  What I  do is put one covered pot full of water over high heat.  Then I take the second pot, put some oil in the bottom and get it hot.  Brown the onions, then remove them from the pot and keep them handy in a bowl.  Take the first half of the chicken and brown on both sides until it’s no longer pink, then add it to the same bowl as the onions.  Brown the second half of the chicken the same way, then add the chicken and onions back to the pot.  Make sure to get any juices that the chicken released.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the carrots and celery.  Cover and cook on low for 20 minutes.

Then — and be careful here — pour the boiling water from the first pot into the second pot.

Both ways: Add the chopped carrots and celery and cook, uncovered until they are tender, about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles according to directions on the package.  Don’t try to cook the noodles in the soup – you’ll end up with casserole.

After the soup is cooked, fish the chicken pieces out with tongs.  After they’ve cooled a bit, shred them and return to the soup.  Serve with the noodles.

Variants: I haven’t run into a variant that I like enough to make again.  You can obviously use other fresh herbs in place of the parsley.  I’ve used celeriac in place of the celery when it came in our CSA share.  Most recipes like this will call for bay leaves, but I haven’t noticed much of a difference when using them.  I keep meaning to try adding some lemon grass.


4 Responses to “Soup for you!”

  1. I love everything about this post… except for the lack of asparagus. That’s really all you need to turn this from Master Recipe to Spring Awesomeness.

  2. chrisgwinn said

    The stupid easy way to make asparagus for people who don’t like asparagus may be a fill-in post if the farm share takes too long to start.

  3. I really think you should give a “spring vegetable” variant a shot… I’ve made the Cook’s recipe with asparagus/frozen peas/orzo a couple of times and really liked it… this year I’m considering making it with my sugar snap pea bounty instead of frozen. Granted, the soup is still hot, so it’s less appealing on 100 degree days, but I still think it tastes like Spring.

  4. chrisgwinn said

    I probably should give lots of variants a shot. This one of the few recipes that I feel like I can’t easily tamper with – there’s the whole childhood memory/family tradition thing going on.

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