Growing up, my family had dinner together every Friday night. My two favorite parts of the meal were always the freshly-baked challah bread and my mom's chicken soup. I loved her soup so much I would freeze all the leftovers in Tupperware and bring it back to my dorm when I was in college. I was convinced no one else could make it as well as her so I never tried.
Awhile back, Jake and I decided to try and recreate a version of my mom's famous chicken soup. It took many tries and variations, but we finally created a recipe for our own family chicken soup that we love. Our hope is that you're able to enjoy this as much as we do.
Things People Ask Me About Homemade Soup
Should I Roast My Bones First?
You definitely don't have to roast your bones first. In fact, my mom's original chicken stock recipe doesn't roast any bones.
However, I've found that if I have an extra 20 minutes, I almost always try and roast my bones first. I find that it adds a lot of depth to the flavor of the broth and darkens it a bit.
How Do I Know How Much Water to Add?
This will ultimately depend on how large your chicken is and how many veggies you put in.
A good rule-of-thumb is to put all the ingredients in the pot (chicken, vegetables, herbs) and then fill the pot with enough water to cover all the chicken and veggies by at least one inch.
If you add too much water, then the broth will be a bit more diluted. If that happens, just let it simmer without the lid on for 30 minutes.
How Do I Get Rid of Impurities in the Bones to Make My Broth Clear?
There are essentially two ways you can get rid of some of the impurities that naturally exist in the bones.
- Parboil the bones first. I often do this when I'm making a stock with a lot of beef bones. I'll place all the bones in a pot with cold water and then keep them at a boil for at least 5 minutes. When it's boiling, I'll use a spoon to skim off all the impurities that rise to the top of the pot. If I'm going to roast the bones, I'll then transfer them to an oven and discard the water. Once you've boiled the bones for minutes, I always recommend discarding the water.
- Bring stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. If I'm making a mostly chicken stock, I typically do this step instead of parboiling the bones separately. Essentially, I place all the ingredients in a pot, add water, and then bring to a boil for at least five minutes. Then skim off and discard any impurities that rise to the top. After five minutes, reduce the heat so that it is at a very low simmer.
The other thing I'd suggest is to try and minimize stirring the pot as it simmers.
How Big of a Pot Should I Use for 1 Chicken?
Typically, for a single whole chicken we get at the butcher, I recommend using at least an 8-quart stock pot.
What Can I Do With the Leftover Chicken?
If you decide to let your broth simmer for 4+ hours for an extra delicious flavor, odds are your chicken won't have as much natural flavor left in it as it's in the yummy broth you just made. That being said, I almost always shred the chicken and freeze in half-cup or 1-cup portions to enjoy for later.
Here are some of the ways I use the shredded chicken:
- Pozole Verde de Pollo Recipe: I typically use 3 cups worth of shredded chicken
- Chicken Noodle Soup: I typically use a half-cup of shredded chicken per person
- Chicken Enchiladas: I typically use 2-3 cups worth of shredded chicken for a pan of enchiladas.
A typical chicken cooked in an 8-quart stock pot will yield ~4 cups of shredded chicken and 12+ cups of broth.
What Other Types of Veggies Can I Use for My Chicken Broth?
Ingredients I *always* include in my broths include:
- Onion (you can actually leave the skin on if you want)
- Garlic (if you're roasting bones, then include the garlic on the pan too)
- Carrots (if clean, you can leave the peel on)
- Bay Leaf
Ingredients I include if I have them in my fridge (optional):
- Ginger (especially if I'm making this for ramen)
Can I Double This Recipe?
Yes! Just make sure to use a larger pot.
Whenever we have enough shredded chicken in the freezer, we typically make a variation of this recipe. Here's what we do differently to yield a larger broth while reducing the amount of meat you'll use:
- We will buy 2-3 whole chickens and butcher them at home. YouTube has a lot of great videos on how to break down a chicken. Typically, we will freeze in separate bags the breasts and thighs (without bones) and wings to use for other recipe. We'll place any remaining bones and parts with veggies in the pot.
FUN FACT: Jake loves coming home and putting a single Souper Cube® in a mug. Then he places it in the microwave for 3 minutes and enjoys a cup of delicious and warm chicken broth.
Ready to make this chicken soup a staple in your freezer? Buy your Souper Cubes® trays today!