Chicken Soup

Here's the thing about recipes that are passed down from mother to mother: they are always shared by doing, rarely written down, and usually contain a secret trick or ingredient that you just can't find in a cook book or on the internet.  But best of all: they fix everything.  

Peter wasn't feeling so hot after the marathon and so my mother-in-law came over to make him some homemade chicken soup.  She also brought me all of the ingredients to make a second batch the next day.  We've been eating chicken soup all week!  The key here is to not get too worried about following the directions.  The recipe is basically "throw everything in the pot & enjoy" but I'll write it down for you anyways, since there is both a secret ingredient and a secret trick.


1 whole chicken, broken down into parts (you don't need any innards, yuck)

Some whole carrots

At least three medium yellow onions

1 bunch of parsley

At least half of a celery root

At least 1 leek


Good salt



1. Place chicken as is in a pot, covered with water.  Bring just to a boil.  As soon as the water gets to a boil, turn off the heat and dump the water.  (This will help you get a clear broth - you're getting all the grossness out of the chicken, but you aren't losing any of the flavor from the chicken since you're dumping the water just as soon as you get to a boil.)

2. Return chicken to the pot.  Add the whole carrots, lightly peeled.  Add the parsley (you can leave it bundled if you want).  Halve your celery root and add at least half (this will give you that great celery flavor without having mushy celery in your soup).  Add the leek, chopped into thirds (just so it fits in the pot), discarding the very bottom. Lightly rinse your onions and halve them, leaving the brown papery skin on.  Add those to the pot, too. (The onion skin gives your soup a nice brown/yellow tint).  Add a teaspoon of salt, or so, to help draw the flavor from the chicken.  Add a handful of peppercorns (my mother in law adds them directly, but I'd recommend putting them in an individual sized loose leaf tea infuser ($2.95 if you don't have one) or tying them in a little ball of cheese cloth - I hate biting into them).  Add water to the pot until contents are covered.

3. Put the heat on low and allow the soup to cook for an hour & a half, or so.

4. Remove from the pot with tongs & discard: the parsley, the onions, the celery root & the leek.  Remove from the pot with tongs & reserve: the chicken & the carrots.

5. Add to broth: as much orzo as you desire (it'll cook in the broth).

6. Chop the carrots into big hearty pieces & return to pot.  Shred the chicken meat with your fingers or with two forks & return to pot.



The ingredients: that weird looking root is the celery root.

Yum.  Serve with toasted sour dough bread & a block of delicious farm stand cheddar.