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I want to brag about this chicken soup so much. It is the from-scratchiest soup I have ever made. I simmered my own stock, I repurposed a home roasted chicken, I scrubbed every last little potato more or less free of dirt. Everything in this bowl grew up in this state, too (except, okay, the onion), and I for one think that makes the process a little more alchemical and craftsmanlike.

I won’t try to bore you as a quote-unquote locavore, but I will tell you that the more you do from scratch, the better your soup will taste. I’m pretty sure that’s scientific fact.

I’ve long hoarded the bones of chicken dinners past and tops of carrots and ends of onions in a bag in the freezer, but this is the first time I actually dug it out, dumped some water in the crock pot, and made stock. Surprise: it’s not hard! Actual surprise: homemade stock really does taste better than canned, even without MSG. It’s magic. Homemade stock will change your life. 

But enough hyperbole. Go make soup. You’ll see!

Simple Chicken Soup
serves 4

to make stock (optional):

  • 1 chicken carcass, or an assortment of bones, preferably with a little meat left
  • 1-2 onions, quartered
  • 1-2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves (optional) 

Place ingredients in a slow cooker and fill 3/4 of the way full with water. Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours. Strain stock through mesh strainer or cheese cloth, and discard bay leaves. Use immediately for soup or freeze for later (takeout containers are great for this).

to make soup:

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3-4 large carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 quart small potatoes, scrubbed (I think I had fingerlings, but I’m not sure. Alternatively, use quartered new potatoes)
  • 2 cups, or so, cooked chicken meat, roughly chopped (I used half a roasted chicken left over from the week before)
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium meat. Add shallot and onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook an additional five minutes, until carrots begin to soften, then add potatoes, chicken, stock, thyme, and Parmesan.

Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and let simmer, partially covered, for 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender but not mushy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.