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
3 1/2 quarts
For the broth:
medium onion, root end left intact, peeled and quartered
large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a knife
medium carrots, halved once lengthwise and once crosswise
celery stalks, cut into about 4" lengths
1 1/2 tablespoons
whole peppercorns, lightly crushed
whole allspice, lightly crushed
a few sprigs
fresh herbs, whatever you have on hand. I used rosemary, thyme, and sage.
For the soup:
chopped yellow or white onion
celery stalks, trimmed and cut into about 1/4" sliced
medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into about 1/4" slices
whole tomatoes in juice
frozen butter beans (lima beans)
medium Yukon Gold or other boiling potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2" pieces
whole kernel corn
shredded or diced chicken from the meat you reserved (about 4 cups)
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:
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.