The key to this delicious flavourful chicken soup is it’s made with a free-range whole chicken. Chicken soup is a great healer when dealing with the flu or colds. I am dedicating this chicken soup recipe to a dear friend, the late Val Sears. I drove to Almonte the last week of his life with this nourishing soup in the back of the car that I had made for a visit to the hospital with the founders of Millstone News, Val Sears and Edith Cody-Rice. The time together meant so much to me as we talked but little did we know that we would lose Val the following day. He will be missed.
Makes 6 cups (11Ž2 L) approximately
- 2 – 3 lbs (1 -11Ž2 kg) whole chicken, preferably free range (for better flavour)
- 2 inch (5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 leek, sliced using the white and pale green parts (use dark green for stocks)
- Or 1 large white onion, finely chopped or thinly sliced
- 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2-inch (2 cm) slices
- 2 large carrots cut into 1Ž2-inch (2 cm) slices
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- 3 – 4 garlic cloves, smashed then chopped
- 4 stalks fresh parsley
- 4 fresh thyme stems or 1 tsp (5 ml) dried thyme leaves
- 8 cups (2 L) cold water
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) sea salt
- Pinch ground red pepper
- Garnish: 2 tbsp (30 ml) coarsely chopped parsley
- Leave chicken whole and place in large saucepan. Or, with a sharp knife separate the chicken by cutting off the legs; cut legs in half at the joint; cut off the wings; split the breasts inhalf lenthwise away cutting through the breast bone and the back bone and place chicken pieces in a large saucepan or stock pot.
- Slightly smash ginger slices with the flat side of a chef’s knife and add to pot along with the leek or onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Tie the parsley and thyme stems with string or if using only parsley add the stems to the pot; add to pot with thyme, salt and pepper. Cover chicken with cold water; bring to a gentle simmer and skim off any foam on top. Cook gently uncovered at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Cool slightly.
- Remove chicken, skin and bones from soup pot and leave to cool on a bake sheet before removing meat from the bones. Strain the soup if needed. Remove any vegetable that has not held it’s shape. Season to taste with salt and hot red pepper. Skim fat from the top of stock or lay paper towel sheets on the top of the soup to absorb the fat. Return the chicken pieces to the soup and tearing by hand any large pieces of the chicken.
- Serve soup hot and garnish with chopped parsley