Good-For-What-Ails-You Soup

This is an adaptation of the chicken soup my mother and my grandmother made.  The only thing done differently is I do NOT add egg noodles.  But feel free to do so.  My mother  used alphabet noodles or long thin noodles or tiny circles or whatever she had on hand.

Putting the soup together is quick and easy.  Finishing the soup to serve is a little more time consuming and labor intensive.  But one bowl of this soup on a cold windy day or when you are fighting a cold will convince you to make the effort.  And you will get lots of soup that you can eat for days or freeze for later (I use wide mouth Ball jars  but plastic containers work too).

1 whole chicken (or parts to equal), wrapped in cheesecloth
1 beef shin bone
1/2 head cabbage
1/8 cup dried parsley
1 clove of garlic, pressed
2 ribs of celery
3 carrots
2 leeks or 1 medium onion
1 large or 2 small parsnips
salt to taste

(When growing up we always put 1/2 teaspoon or less of yellow mustard in the soup bowl….it replaces the flavor of salt…very tasty too).

*The chicken should be wrapped in cheesecloth.  The procedure is simple.  It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to hold the bird together in the pot.  Without wrapping it in cheesecloth the chicken will fall apart in the soup.  No one wants a bone in their soup.  Cheesecloth is inexpensive and can be found in a grocery store.  You will also need cotton string.  Also found in a grocery store.


1. Put everything in a large stock pot.

2.Bring a tea kettle full of water to the boil and pour over the chicken.  Then add enough water to cover the ingredients by a 1/2 inch or an inch.  Put a lid on the pot.  Simmer for 4 or 5 hours.  If you have to leave the house, leave the lid on and turn the heat off under the pot.  Turn it back on when you get home.  Don’t leave the soup for more than a hour without heat under the pot if you can help it.
3.  When the soup is done (4 to 6 hours), take the chicken out.  There will be lots of very hot broth in the chicken and in the pot.  Be careful! Put the chicken in a bowl to drain.  Pour the broth from the chicken back into the pot.

4.  While the chicken cools enough to pick the meat off, take the vegetables out of the pot.  Slice up the vegetables to bite sized pieces.  Put half of the vegetables back into the pot.
5.  Take the beef shin bone out of the broth.  Scoop the marrow out of the bone and put it back into the broth.
6.  With an immersion blender, puree the marrow, and some of the cabbage, leeks, celery, parsnips, and carrots.  When the soup is a thick consistency to your liking, put the remaining vegetables, beef meat, and some of the chicken back into the pot.  Serve.

I like to put the dark meat in the soup and save the white meat for chicken salad.  Delicious and moist.  Husband likes to add big chunks of white meat to his soup bowl too!


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