commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
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Boring Chicken Soup

This recipe has two major virtues: it's tastier and somewhat healthier (because fewer odd additives) -though probably not cheaper - than canned and the prep time is roughly 1 cup of tea, so the cook can leave it to simmer and go back to bed before they fall over.

A certain amount of advance hoarding is desireable, because cold and flu season, and if you're making this you don't feel like shopping, but you can skip pretty much any ingredient you don't have, including, oddly, the chicken (in which case add the beans if possible). Veggie broth and canned beans is a completely valid approach, if you want vegetarian soup, too. Turkey works fine and then you'll get a dose of tryptophan, which can only help. Chicken boullion is ok but salty: watch how many salted things you add or it's going to taste like ass and you'd have been happier with canned.

Depending on head-count, you need:

1-3 litres of chicken broth, which you made or bought a club pack of and squirreled away when cold season started.

1-3 lb frozen skinless boneless chicken pieces, which ditto. Thaw them and chop them into cubes. Chicken sausage works, if it's not too heavily spiced with something you don't feel like eating right now. I am not responsible for what happens if you use chicken or turkey dogs, though it will probaby be edible...

Celery, fresh, frozen or dried (you can buy three heads, chop it, bag it and freeze it, some day when you're feeling healthy and it's on sale, if you like. The dried is pretty useful though, and cheap and easy to store.)

Carrots, fresh or frozen. Babycut are pricey for soup but *very* handy.

Garlic, the prechopped stuff.

Dried or frozen onion

Fresh and/or frozen vegetables , as many as you can fit in. Pretty much anything you like enough that you have some around.

A can of beans, if you feel like it. Six-bean mix is good, but whatever you keep handy. If they're packed in anything but unsalted water, rinse them. Otherwise toss the liquid in, it's tasty.

Spices: figure out what you like when you're sick and keep it on hand. I use Penzey's Adobo and pump it up with extra ancho pepper and cumin, which is pleasantly decongesting without being super-hot, but anything works: curry, italian, french ...

Herbs, dried: herbs de provence, bouquet garni, fines herbes, italian herbs, cilantro, dill, parsley, whatever you like and keep around and think will go with the spices.

Noodles. Or pasta, or rice, or quinoa, or diced-up plain oven fries or, oddly enough, tortilla chips or ripped-up corn tortillas, which will go very noodly in the soup but don't disintegrate. Mind your total salt if you use tortilla chips, especially if you're also using canned beans and commercial broth. Should be okay, just don't add more til it hits your bowl. It's going to condense some.

Salt, pepper, dried parsley to taste.

Bring it all to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, simmer at least 60 minutes, go back to bed. Serve with ... actually, people can serve themselves, you did your bit.

Freezes well, keeps 3-5 days in the fridge.
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