Back to the Kitchen: Soup’s On!

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Although the weather has been not very cold and more like summer throughout Southern California, I still see friends and family with sniffles and the flu. It hit my daughter Emma last week and I was down for a day this week. Doctor Mom Chef Gwen says “Airborne and Chicken Soup!” I make pots this time of year and enjoy making a variety of this liquid penicillin. Make an extra large batch and freeze in single serving containers for a quick meal. Give one of these recipes a try even if just to warm your family up on a chilly night.


Soup has been said to cure all ills.

Basic Chicken Stock

1 red onion, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups white wine

1 Chicken carcass

10 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot combine all above ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and cover and simmer for one hour. Strain the stock and toss the solids. (You should get about 10 cups) You can freeze half or you can freeze in ice cube trays and pop out single servings as needed for sauces.

Matzo Ball Soup

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons rendered chicken fat or Crisco

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

14 tablespoons matzo meal

10 cups chicken stock

3 carrots, sliced

2 medium parsnips, sliced

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and chicken fat until combined. Whisk in 1/2-cup water and salt. Add matzo meal, and whisk until combined. Cover and refrigerate batter until firm, 2 to 4 hours. Line a baking pan with parchment. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a large wide saucepan, and reduce heat to a simmer. Slightly dampen your fingertips, and form 2 heaping tablespoons of batter into a 1 1/2-inch ball, being careful not to compress the mixture too much. Place ball on the prepared pan. Repeat process with remaining batter. Using a large spoon, slide the matzo balls into the simmering stock. Once all the balls have been added, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add carrots and parsnips, cover, and continue cooking for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the matzo balls are cooked through. Garnish with fresh dill, and serve immediately

Whole Chicken Soup

1 whole 4-pound chicken

1 red onion cut into wedges

6 cloves garlic smashed with flat side of knife

2 stalks celery leaves and stems chopped

Stems and roots from 1 bunch of cilantro

1 teaspoon sea salt

1-teaspoon pepper

6 carrots, each cut into 2-3 large pieces

2 avocados

cilantro and lime for serving

Put the chicken in a stockpot just big enough to hold it. Scatter the onion, garlic, celery, cilantro, and salt and pepper around the chicken. Cover the chicken with water, put a lid on the pot, and bring it to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling for 5 minutes. Then, turn off the heat, allowing the chicken to poach in the water for 45 minutes (don’t open the lid during this time). When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the stock and allow it to cool off enough to touch. Remove and discard the skin, then strip the meat off the bones into bite size pieces. Cover the chicken and refrigerate until the soup is done. Return the bones back into the stockpot along with any collected juices from the chicken. Cover, and return the soup to a boil. When it boils, turn down the heat and simmer for at least 2 hours. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids. Skim off any excess oil then add the soup back to the pot along with the carrots. Cook the carrots until tender. Salt and pepper the soup to taste. To serve, put down some chicken, carrots and avocado in a bowl. Pour the hot stock over everything and garnish with cilantro and a wedge of lime.

Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 small jalapeno, finely chopped

1 lemongrass stock, bruised

Juice of 3 limes

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups Coconut milk

1 pound boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced

Fresh cilantro for garnish

In a large soup pot sauté the onions, garlic, cumin and jalapeno for 10 minutes. Add the stock, limejuice coconut milk and lemon grass stalk and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes until the chicken is tender. Serve at once with a cilantro garnish.

Greek Lemon Soup

8 cups chicken broth

1/2-cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 cup cooked orzo

1 cup chicken breast, cooked and diced

16 slices lemon

8 egg yolks

Salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot, combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, carrots, onions and celery. Bring to a boil on high on high and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. Beat the egg yolks until light in color. Gradually add some of the hot soup to the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Return the egg mixture to the soup pot and heat through. Add the orzo and chicken. Ladle hot soup into bowls and garnish with lemon slices.

Noni’s Chicken Soup (Italian Style)

4 tablespoons olive oil

6 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

1 red onion, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 zucchini, sliced

2 yellow squash, sliced

2 cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano (14.5-ounce)

2 cans kidney beans (14.5-ounce)

2 cartons Chicken Stock (32 ounces)

Grated Parmesan

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion and carrot, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, yellow squish, kidney beans diced tomatoes, and chicken Stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Top each serving with grated Parmesan.

Spicy Tex-Mex Chicken Soup

1/4-cup olive oil

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 red, green and yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 carrot, diced

1 red onion, chopped

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon each cumin and chili powder

1 can diced tomatoes with juice (I like to use yellow if you can find them.)

5 cups chicken stock

1-pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can (15 ozs) black beans, rinsed

2 cups corn kernels

1/2-cup fresh cilantro (for garnish)

1 cup tortilla chips, crunched (for garnish)

Diced avocado

Cheddar cheese

In a large soup pot heat oil over medium heat. Add peppers, garlic, carrots, onion, thyme, cumin and chili powder. Sauté, stirring continually for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes, chicken and stock. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 1/2 hour. Remove the chicken breasts and let cool then dice into bite size peaces. Return to pot and add the black beans and corn and bring to another boil. To serve add a handful of chips to the bottom of each bowl add soup and garnish with fresh cilantro, cheddar cheese and avocado.

Chicken Minestrone with Basil Pesto

8 boneless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces

6 cups chicken stock

3 cups celery, chopped

3 cups carrots, chopped

2 teaspoons salt

1-tablespoon parsley flakes

1/4-teaspoon pepper

2 (11 1/2 ounce) cans tomato juice

1 cans kidney beans (14 ounces)

1 cup cooked elbow macaroni

1-cup pesto (see below recipe or store bought)

Combine all ingredients but the pasta, kidney beans and pesto in a Dutch oven or stockpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover. Simmer for 90 minutes adding in the pasta and kidney beans in the last 5 minutes.

Top each serving with a dollop of pesto!


5 large garlic cloves

1-cup pine nuts (or walnuts work as well)

5 cups packed fresh basil

1-cup fresh parsley

1 cup fresh Parmigianino, coarsely grated

1 1/2 cup olive oil

In a blender or food processor mix garlic, nuts, basil, parsley and cheese and process until finely chopped. With motor running add oil mixing until incorporated.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.