Let’s try a new recipe: the best chicken soup ever?

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I’ve been battling bronchitis for three weeks now and it seems like it wants to linger even more. Today I decided to bring out the big guns and make a huge pot of the best chicken soup ever (in my humble opinion). I first tried it several years ago and ever since it has been our go-to home remedy for whatever ails you. I think it’s the addition of fresh ginger that is the cure-all. 😉

I’m forever grateful to Renee Shepherd of Renee’s Garden for sharing her family recipe on her blog. I’ve included a few notes on how I tweak it just a bit. Hope you enjoy it!

RENEE’S FAMILY CHICKEN SOUP

One very large, deep soup pot, heavy enough so it can
simmer without burning.

2-3 large onions, coarsely chopped
3   large garlic cloves, peeled and mashed or chopped
5-6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
optional: two parsnips, peeled and cut 1/2 inch rounds (I always add these!)
1/2 small bunch of celery, strings removed, cut into 1 inch slices
or use 1 large celeriac root, peeled and cut in 1 inch slices
3-5 lb. fresh whole chicken, rinsed thoroughly, including giblets
(except liver) or use 2 large whole chicken breasts (I use 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
4-6  15oz. cans (depends on the size of your pot) good-quality
chicken  broth. You can use bouillon cubes and water ,
but that is definitely a 2nd choice. (I use 4-5 32-oz. boxes of low sodium fat free chicken broth)
1 large bay leaf
2 whole cloves or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
or use 1½ teaspoons dried ground ginger
2 tsp. dried thyme or 2 T fresh chopped thyme
Salt to taste – it will definitely need salt, as broth salt levels vary widely
Lots of freshly ground pepper to taste but do not omit – I use at least 2 tsp.

To add after chicken soup is made:
3 cups of cooked rice or Orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 cup freshly chopped Flat Leaf Italian parsley (I always add just cooked wild rice. I have forgotten the fresh parsley every time!)

Put the chicken and all the cut up vegetables into the pot.  Add enough chicken broth to cover the chicken by several inches. Add all the herbs and spices. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a very slow simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is falling off the bones — about 1 to 1½ hours. Cool slightly, take out chicken. Remove the excess fat from the top of the soup. When chicken is cool enough to handle, separate meat from the bones. Chop chicken meat into bite-size pieces and add back to soup. Adjust salt to taste and add more freshly ground pepper as desired. Add cooked rice or Orzo and freshly chopped parsley. (Try not to forget the parsley!)
Serve very hot.

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