3 Simple chicken soups

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup made with chicken thighs Slow Cooker Chicken Soup made with chicken thighs and breasts, carrots, parsnip, celery and onion and by food writer Marge Perry for Three Simple Chicken Soups. (Sept. 21, 2011) Photo Credit: Marge Perry

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Marge Perry Newsday columnist Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition. ...

TIP Do not allow soup to boil as it cooks, or it will develop foam (which should be skimmed) and become cloudy. All three versions of the soup freeze well.

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN SOUP

3 carrots (about 8 ounces), thinly sliced

2 parsnips (about 8 ounces), thinly sliced

3 celery stalks, thinly sliced

1 cup thinly sliced onion

2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs

2 pounds bone-in chicken breasts

3 packets or 4 teaspoons sodium-free powdered chicken bouillon

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 cups water

1. Place all the ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker. Turn to low and cook 8 hours, or overnight.

2. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool enough to handle. Once cooled, remove skin and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

3. Use a fat separator or ladle broth (without vegetables) into a clean bowl and refrigerate until fat rises to surface and can be removed.

4. Combine chopped chicken, vegetables and broth and reheat to serve. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with additional dill if desired. Makes about 12 cups, or 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 258 calories, 33 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 122 mg sodium


SHORTCUT HOMEMADE CHICKEN SOUP

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4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs

3 carrots, sliced

2 parsnips, sliced

1 cup thinly sliced onion

2 stalks celery, chopped

6 cups water

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

2 (14 1/4-ounce) cans lower-sodium chicken broth

1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Immediately reduce to a gentle simmer. (Do not allow the soup to boil). Simmer until chicken is very tender and nearly falling off the bone, about 40 minutes.

2. Transfer chicken to a work surface until cool enough to handle; remove skin and chop in 1/2-inch pieces.

3. Skim the fat from the soup using a fat separator, or by refrigerating the broth (separately from the vegetables) until the fat rises to the top and can be removed.

4. Combine the vegetables, chicken and broth and reheat to serve. Just before serving, add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 299 calories, 33 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 13 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 404 mg sodium

CLASSIC (FIRST COURSE) CHICKEN SOUP

This is chicken soup without the chunks of chicken, meant to be served as a first course before a meal. The chicken is set aside for a later meal.

3 carrots (about 8 ounces), sliced

2 parsnips (about 8 ounces), sliced

1 cup thinly sliced onion

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 (4 to 5 pound) bird, including the gizzards, neck and back, cut in pieces

3 packets or 4 teaspoons powdered no-sodium chicken bouillon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Combine the carrots, parsnips, onion and celery in a large pot. Place the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with the bouillon and salt. Add enough water to cover the chicken by about 2 inches (about 8-10 cups) and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer until chicken is very tender and nearly falling off the bone, about 40 minutes.

2. Transfer the edible pieces (thighs, breast, drumsticks) to a bowl; cover and refrigerate when it is slightly cooled. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a second bowl.

3. Simmer the broth with the backs, wings, gizzard and neck for 1 hour. Remove and discard. Skim the fat from the soup using a fat separator, or by refrigerating the broth until the fat rises to the top and can be removed. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

4. To serve, gently reheat the vegetables in the broth. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 75 calories, 1 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 180 mg sodium

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