I thought I would start this year off with posting a healthy boosted twist on one of the first classic recipes that ever made it’s way into my repertoire. Chicken soup is one of the first recipes I committed to memory, and it’s something I love to make and keep steadily stocked in my fridge and freezer all winter long. So is bone broth, and this recipe, that is kind of a two for one, is one of my favorite food projects for a lazy, chilly Sunday.
I hardly post any non-veggies recipes on this blog which I realize is kind of weird because I am not a vegetarian ...... and it often confuses people. People very often assume that because I post so many vegetarian recipes that I am a vegetarian. And, when I tell people that I am not a vegetarian, but vegetarian food is the food I love the most ... I think that confuses people even more. There is no label for my mostly veg, avoid dairy and gluten, and a little bit of meat and fish, diet ... and when you don't have a clear label to put on it, people might not always get it. I find people can be most perplexed by why I choose to focus so much on vegetables when I still eat meat. I find much more creativity in with working with veggies recipes vs. meat recipes. I only have about 7-ish meat focused recipes that I make over and over again.... (one being this chicken soup) and, if I were home cooking for myself, and not my husband or anyone else, I would almost always make myself something veg. I just really really love my vegetables.
SO, since the new year is here and it feels like a good time for fresh starts, I decided that I would be sharing more of my classic meat recipes ... because, this is how I eat, and the handful of meat recipes that I do make I love and I have been making them for a long time.
I am very very picky about my meats. I am very picky about all the food that makes it’s way into my kitchen, but meat especially. I am lucky to have a butcher nearby that I am friendly with, where I can 100% trust the sourcing of their meat, and that it is not only grass-fed, organic (and all those buzzy things) but also that it’s sustainable. That they are sourcing from a local farm and that they are using all the usable animal parts. I, too, like to continue to make sure that I am being a responsible meat consumer while at home, and the best way I can do that is by making bone broth from leftover bones. In this chicken soup that means you actually get double bang for the bones. First with the actual broth from the soup, and second from the leftover bones, which then get simmered for 12-24 hours to make that magical bone broth.
I am sure you are already well acquainted with bone broth. I’ve got to be honest, I totally rolled my eyes at this trend when it first started. Of course broth is nourishing, we’ve been sipping on it for hundreds of years, our grandmas and moms always made us broth or chicken soup when we had a cold. It’s no secret that it’s nature’s medicine, someone just decided to repackage it and give it a new-ish name. It wasn’t until a broth shop (a storefront that sells JUST broth in a coffee cups) opened in my neighborhood that I started to give it a try, and then started to drink it on a regular basis, that I started seeing what the real fuss was about. Bone broth is seriously powerful healing stuff when sipped on consistently, and even more so in the winter when we need that extra nourishing boost. I began to see a noticeable difference in my nails and hair, they were stronger, healthier looking. I felt a more calming feeling in my gut, and you know if our guts are calm and happy, we are calm and happy. So, I am a total broth convert, and advocate. It was last year that I started on my bone broth kick, and I decided that I needed to start making it myself because it’s wayyyyyy less expensive, and you can make it in big batches and freeze it, so it lasts a long time.
So, this here is my method for making my favorite chicken soup, followed by chicken bone broth. This is a more labor-intensive process than most of my recipes, but if you are as into making things ahead of time that make you feel good as I am, then it’s well worth this labor of love. To do this, you will need two heavy-bottomed large soup pots, and I will guide you how to do the most efficient, and least dishing washing way possible.
turmeric + ginger + shiitake chicken soup | and, how to make chicken bone broth!
This is a two-part recipe, but if you don’t have the time or you aren’t in the mood to make the bone broth, then you can always skip it or freeze the leftover bones and make it when you have the time. This recipe is very forgiving in terms of ingredients. Feel free to add (or subtract) whatever veggies you have on hand or what you are in the mood for. That goes for the bone broth too. I usually keep mine very basic, and leave out the add-ins, but if you want a more flavorful broth to sip on, feel free to add as much as you like. Lastly, you are going to need two large, heavy-bottomed soup pots if you’re going to make both the soup and bone broth, and I will refer to them as pot #1 and pot #2.
For the chicken soup:
4lb (ish) organic whole chicken
10-12 cups of water (filtered preferably)
2 tablespoons of sea salt
1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds (optional)
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons of ghee or olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 large carrots, diced
5+oz (about 25 mushroom caps) of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
8-10 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon of minced (fresh) turmeric
1 tablespoon of minced (fresh) ginger
optional add-ins: a couple handfuls of spinach or kale, rice or quinoa, chopped fresh herbs such as dill or cilantro
For the chicken bone broth:
The leftover bones from the chicken soup
10-12 cups of water (filtered preferably)
1-2 tablespoons of sea salt (optional)
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
optional ad-ins: bay leaves
any kind of whole spices such as peppercorns, fennel seeds, cumin seeds
veggies such as carrots, onion, garlic
Make the broth for the soup:
- Place the whole chicken into a large, heavy-bottomed pot (#1) and add enough water so the chicken is covered (leaving about 1-2” from the top so it doesn’t overflow. Add the salt, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and bay leaves, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Cover, lower the heat to a low simmer, and cook for an hour.
- Turn the heat off, and carefully remove the chicken from the broth and place it onto a large cutting board. You can leave the broth in the pot for now. Allow the chicken to cool completely before removing the meat from the bones. I also like to give it a rough chop with a knife to help speed the cooling, and so that it doesn’t keep cooking. When you are ready to pull the meat off the bones (I usually do this a littler later when my soup is simmering), you will peel off and discard the skin, remove the meat, and place it onto a large plate until you’re ready to add it to the soup. Reserve all of the bones, if you’re making the bone broth. You can freeze the bones in an airtight container or plastic bag if you want to make the bone broth another time.
Make the soup:
- In pot #2, heat the ghee over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook for 7-10 minutes until all of the veggies are very tender. Add the mushrooms, and cook while stirring (to prevent the mushrooms from sticking) for another 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and turmeric, and cook, while stirring for 2 more minutes.
- Place a strainer over the pot, and pour the broth from pot#1 into the pot with the veggies (pot#2). Turn the heat down to low, and simmer for about 45 minutes. When you've removed the chicken from the bones, you can add it to the soup.
- If you're adding spinach or kale, I like to do this at the very end or right before serving. If you plan to make this ahead and store it, I would wait to add the greens until you heat it up.
- If you want to add rice or quinoa, I add about 1/2 a cup and cook for about 30 minutes, until the grains are cooked through.
- You can store any leftovers in the fridge, in glass airtight jars, for about 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Make the bone broth:
- Clean out pot#1, and then add the leftover bones, water, salt, and vinegar (and any other add-in you like). Place the pot over a very low flame, cover, and simmer for 12-24 hours.
- When you are done simmering, ladle the broth into the vessel you plan to store it in. I like to store a portion of the broth (whatever I will drink over the next day or two) in a large mason jar in the fridge, and the rest I ladle into silicone ice cube trays, freeze them, and then transfter the broth cubes to a plastic bag for longer-term storage.