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Author Notes: This is one of the soups that my mom made regularly when I was growing up. When I asked her for the recipe, she basically told me that there isn't one. The key parts of the soup, though, are the homemade broth and the combination of vegetables used: it's always onion, carrot, celery, tomato, potato, corn, and butter beans. —pantryhero
Makes 3 1/2 quarts
For the broth:
- 1 whole chicken
- 14 cups water
- 1 medium onion, root end left intact, peeled and quartered
- 5 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a knife
- 2 medium carrots, halved once lengthwise and once crosswise
- 3 celery stalks, cut into about 4" lengths
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice, lightly crushed
- a few sprigs fresh herbs, whatever you have on hand. I used rosemary, thyme, and sage.
- Rinse the chicken and remove the innards.
- Put everything in a large stockpot. I like to use a tea infuser ball instead of cheesecloth for the peppercorns and allspice. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cook for about 2 hours, flipping the chicken once if it won't stay fully submerged.
- Remove the chicken from the pot, but keep the stock at a simmer. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick the meat off of it, but do not discard the skin and bones. Refrigerate or freeze the meat; you will use some of it in the soup.
- Put the chicken skin and bones back into the stockpot, partially cover the pot, and continue to simmer for another 3 hours or so. Strain the stock into a bowl or container, let it cool some, and then refrigerate it. The fat on top of the stock will congeal; remove as much or as little of it as you want. I ended up with about 8 cups of stock.
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chopped yellow or white onion
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into about 1/4" sliced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into about 1/4" slices
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 14 ounces whole tomatoes in juice
- 8 cups homemade broth
- 16 ounces frozen butter beans (lima beans)
- 3 medium Yukon Gold or other boiling potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2" pieces
- 15 ounces whole kernel corn
- 12 ounces shredded or diced chicken from the meat you reserved (about 4 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, 1/4 tsp. of the kosher salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, under the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Add the oregano, tomatoes, and the remaining 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Break the tomatoes up with the back of a wooden spoon, then add the bay leaves and stock. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the butter beans and simmer for 10 more minutes.
- Add the potatoes and simmer for 10 more minutes,
- Add the chicken and corn, and simmer until heated through, about 5 more minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves and adjust seasoning to taste before serving.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Restorative Recipes