By Vida Gustafson

Contributing Writer 

If, in such an active flu season, you haven’t needed some nourishing chicken soup, I’m sure you will soon!

Every time I roast a chicken I reserve the bones to make a simple stock specifically for use in a soup. It’s a great way to stretch a meal and get every bit of use out of a whole chicken.

I love using bone-in chicken thighs instead of skinless tenders or pre-cooked chicken, but if those are all that you have on hand, go ahead and simply skip the first few steps. You’ll still have a hug in a bowl at the end.



4-6 chicken thighs

5-6 cloves of garlic

1 onion

4 medium carrots

3 stalks celery

2 medium potatoes

1 bunch of parsley (I prefer curly leaf parsley for soups)

2-3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)

2 quart chicken or vegetable stock

2 tsp olive oil

2 bay leaves

Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning



Season your chicken thighs liberally with salt and pepper, heat up a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in a large, six-quart pot, and place the chicken skin down in the pot, over medium heat.

Place the thyme and whole cloves of garlic in and around the chicken. Leave to cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes, until the skin is crispy and brown. Turn it over and cook for a further 10 minutes.

If using skinless chicken tenders you will need to chop the chicken into bite-sized chunks; season and brown it for only 5-10 minutes with the garlic.

While the chicken is cooking, chop the vegetables into uniform bits, however chunky or small you prefer. If they are all about the same size, they will cook more evenly.

Remove the garlic from the pot and chop it up so you can add it back to the pot. It should be softened and browned only slightly; don’t use it if it is burned, because that’s not a pleasant flavor.

Add all the vegetables in with the chicken, season with salt and pepper and stir thoroughly to get everything heated through. Let it cook, stirring occasionally for only about 5 minutes. Pour in enough stock to cover the ingredients by about 1 inch and add the bay leaves.

Turn up the heat briefly to get the soup to a gentle simmer. Cook covered for 30 minutes. Chop up the leafy parts of the parsley and another 2 garlic cloves and set aside. Remove the chicken thighs from the pot and very carefully (they’re hot!) remove the skin and bone and cut up the meat and return to the pot. Many people like to skim off the liquid chicken fat. It will have made its way to the surface of the soup at this stage. I usually leave it or remove only a small amount. If you are using precooked chicken, this will be when you add the chicken to the soup.

Right before serving, add the finely chopped garlic and parsley along with any seasoning you feel it needs after tasting.