In ode of the seasonal wet weather, here’s a recipe for a gloriously golden chook soup.
It’s a DIY stock, rather than store-bought – while you can buy some beautiful stocks at the supermarket, it’s easy peasy to make your own and it simply can’t be topped flavour-wise!
To prepare the stock, simmer a whole chook in a large soup pot of water with veggie odd bits-and-ends for about an hour. For your odd bits use the tops, ends and peels of the vegetables you’d be adding later to the soup to consume – no need to throw them away yet – they’ll help provide substance and flavour to your stock! With the addition of pumpkin seeds and pulp, as well as and carrot skins, you get a sunshine hue to your soup at the end.
Nutritional Benefits of Chook Soup
Chicken soup is a quintessential go-to dish when feeling under the weather and blue. It’s soothing and warm, and a great source of hydration, especially for a tickly throat or when bogged down with a cold! Beyond this, here are other possible health benefits:
As a good source of different vegetables, a bowlful will provide an array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibre; as well as a source of high-quality protein from the chook.
Numerous health benefits of chicken soup comes from the parts of animals we don’t often eat – the carcass. When cooking bones with joint tissue (like from a roasted or raw chook carcass) the tissues will dissolve into the stock, providing glucosamine and chondroitin (found in popular dietary supplements for arthritis and joint pain!).
Additionally, the bones and connective tissue are largely made up of collagen, which turns into gelatin when cooked. Gelatin is a protein, made up of a unique set of amino acid, including high amounts of glycine. Glycine is one of the three amino acids our body uses to make glutathione, a very powerful antioxidant that may help protect our cells against oxidative damage causes by free radicals. Without enough glycine, we’ll naturally produce less glutathione.
Collagen has interesting research around its possible benefits in improving oesteoarthetic-related symptoms (1), as well as improving the appearance of skin and hair (2 and 3). Of course, it’s always important to keep in mind dosage is important for different therapeutic benefits.
1 ½cupspasta or a few handfuls of noodles(regular or gluten-free; whatever shape is your preference)
A fewhandfuls ofbaby spinach
A handful ofpeas
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Remove chook from any packaging. Wash in sink, and place in a large soup pot with a fitted lid. Pour over the water. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.
As the temperature’s rising, remove seeds/pulp from pumpkin (the part you’d usually discard) and chuck it in the soup pot. Cut the top and bottom off your carrots (just a bit) and add that in too. Peel the carrot and chuck the skins in the pot. Chop the end off one side of the garlic and, with the skin still on the garlic, crush the cloves with the back of a knife and chuck into the pot. Add in any celery leaves. Finally, cut the green leaves off the leek, finely slice about one cup and add to pot. Discard the rest of the leaves and keep white part aside.
Once water is boiling reduce to a simmer, cover with lid and leave to cook for around an hour. Check the pot a few times throughout and remove any white scum that has come to the surface with a spoon.
While the stock is cooking prepare the vegetables. Slice leek in half, then slice each half finely. Repeat with carrot and celery, although they can be a little chunkier - depends how you like it! Very carefully slice pumpkin, remove skin and discard, and then dice flesh into small bite-sized pieces.
Once an hour has passed, remove chook carefully from soup and place into a tray. Keep aside to cool. Strain stock through a colander into another pot. Discard veggie peels.
In the original soup pot add a good drizzle of olive oil. Add the sliced leek into pot and sauté for five minutes over the medium-low heat. Add pumpkin, carrot and celery and sauté for another few minutes.
Pour in stock. Turn up heat to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add pasta or noodles and cook for another 10 minutes.
Time to season! As your stock is homemade, it’s going to need a fair bit of salt - it might surprise you with how much! Start by tasting it without any salt (you’ll notice it’s very bland). Then add 1 Tbsp of salt and give it a good mix. Taste again - does it need more? Thereafter add a teaspoon, taste and repeat until it tastes ‘just right’ (I did about 2 Tbsp for my pot, but sometimes it varies!). Add ground pepper to taste.
Add frozen peas, spinach and finely sliced parsley to soup. Stir and cook on a simmer for another few minutes. Using a few fork shred the meat off the chook, and add back into the pot. Enjoy!
Egg-free? Make sure your pasta or noodles are egg-free.Gluten-free? Use gluten-free pasta or noodles. Check to make sure your stock is gluten-free.Storage notes: This soup will keep well for 3-4 days in the fridge. If you’re wanting to freeze it (i.e. batch cook it for a future rainy day), hold the pasta - it doesn’t freeze as well. Simple reheat and add it in dry to cook when you’re ready to enjoy.