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Chicken soup ...secret ingredients

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)

My kids have colds. (Hey, it's January, in Michigan!!) and when I kissed them goodbye this morning, my DD gave me the most pitiful look and asked if I would make chicken noodle soup and bread for dinner today. Well, of course I will!! :)

Anyway, my chicken soup recipe (guideline??) is pretty basic. Sweat some carrots, onions and celery, add homemade chicken stock, chicken and homemade noodles. It's darn good, lol...but I was any of you add anything else to your chicken soup? Can't do anything with a lot of heat because my youngest won't touch it (sensory issues).

Michelle in Michigan

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Michelle, This is the recipe I posted a while ago. The poultry seasoning and parsley flakes are the key for me. I've told many people about them and they all agree it makes the soup so much more flavorful. No, you've got me thinking about my dinner tonight. Yum...
:) Kathy

A little long, but worth the read and worth making. I've shared this with several DGers, but couldn't find my recipe here on DG. Here's my chicken noodle soup recipe:

First I cook my chickens (if you can get free-range, it would be so great, but if not, it will probably just be a little more fatty). I boil mine for about 45 min. to an hour covered with water. In that water, I put carrots, onions, celery, poultry seasoning, parsley flakes, salt and pepper. All of this is to taste. You won't be eating these veggies so you can rough chop them (although you could eat them)...sometimes I save them and puree them with the chicken stock, strain and have a great stock that I freeze for later on :)
Let your chickens cool, and then debone them. One 3 - 4 lb chicken is generally enough for this recipe. You can do this the day before and keep meat in the fridge. Now to the recipe :)

Chicken Noodle Soup

*2 1/2 cups wide egg noodles (uncooked)
*1 teaspoon vegetable oil (I use canola)
*12 cups chicken broth (2 large cans)...[I love Swanson, but it does have MSG and I am sensitive to I found some at the health food store that doesn't have MSG. The Swanson large cans are 6 cups each and the paper containers at the health food store are 4 cups each, so you'll need 3 of those.] OR USE HOMEMADE STOCK WHICH I OFTEN DO
*1 1/2 tablespoons salt (optional)
*1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (best ingredient in this soup :) )
*1 cup chopped celery
*1 cup chopped onion
*1 cup chopped carrots
*1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)

*1/3 cup cornstarch
*1/4 - 1/2 cup cold water

*3 cups diced, cooked chicken meat

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add egg noodles and oil. Boil for 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, combine broth, salt, poultry seasoning, and parsley flakes. Bring to a boil. Stir in celery, onion, carrots, mushrooms. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water together until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Gradually add to soup, stirring constantly. Stir in noodles and chicken, heat through. Sprinkle about 1 tbsp of parsley flakes on top of soup.

I like to add a dollop of sour cream in the center of my bowl of soup. What a flavor, not mention it cools down the soup a bit as it can be pretty hot. Yum.

:) Kathy

Fredericksburg, VA(Zone 7b)

Add a couple of bay leaves to the mix.

Tustin, CA

mistymeadows recipe sounds awesome,however i would add leeks and 2 tbsp of crushed garlic and a sprig of rosemary to the broth.enjoy!

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Just an add to mine...I have since found that Swanson does make an MSG free broth (not in the can, in a 4 cup box) that is really good and can be found at Kroger or Walmart, I believe. I get really sick from MSG so I have to read all the labels.

I bet the garlic and bay leaf would be good. Rosemary, I'd probably be a little iffy on, but then I'm not always partial to that and I never thought of putting leeks in...another one of my not so favorites, but only because I've not really had them.

:) Kathy

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

Thx for the broth tip, I just assumed they'd all have MSG.

Man, I could go for some of this soup right now. :)

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)

Thanks everyone.

For Misty and Tir-Na-Nog: If you buy organic broth, it doesn't have MSG. Watch boullion powders and soup starters because they usually have MSG.

Okay, my soup pot is on. :) Lots of carrots, celery and onion. I always use chicken thighs for soup because they have more flavor than breasts.

Coarse (1/4) ground black pepper, grey sea salt (not much, don't like a lot of salt), whole thyme (dried) and sweet savory. My kids don't care for rosemary so I'm not putting any in. Can't eat anything without garlic so there is about 1/3 of a clove, minced also floating around.

Smells divine...I found a recipe that called for lemongrass as a "secret ingredient" so that's part of the reason that I started this thread. I don't have any lemongrass, so I can't try it. Oh well, maybe next time. Now to get my bread started...

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

MsKatt, I don't mean to argue with you, but believe me I've done a lot of research. Some organic broths DO have MSG in them. If it says natural flavor, it does, as MSG is a natural product, but it's also an excitotoxin which is not good for your body. That's another word for MSG. Unless it clearly states no MSG, I don't buy it.

:) Kathy

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)

Interesting. My box of organic chicken broth:

Filtered water, organic free range chicken broth concentrate, sea salt, organic onion powder, organic turmeric, organic spices, organic carrot powder.

I've done a lot of research, too. I have a child with food/sensory issues. I have only seen "natural" or 100% natural broths that have MSG (or a pseudonym), I've never come across an organic broth that did. Do you remember which brands so we can avoid?

Michelle in Michigan

Sedalia, MO

For colds I would put in garlic. It is a natural antibiotic. I always put in lots of it when I have a cold

Houston, United States(Zone 9b)

thank you!

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

I don't know off hand because I didn't buy them. I just checked out my Imagine brand that I have and that has the same ingredients. I'm not saying that all organic has MSG, I'm just saying that because it's organic does not mean it doesn't have MSG. I remember spending a very long time at Wild Oats one day reading all the labels and I think the only two I would buy is Imagine or Pacific. As a rule, I make my own.

It's not fun having children with food allergies; I know....I've raised a daughter with them (she's 26 now) and her son has them. We have to read everything. Not to mention that I can't eat any processed foods or very little because they make me ill.

MSG is in everything and people don't realize what other names it goes by. Again, I'll say...check out Debbie Anglesley's book, Battling the MSG Myth. Or Russell Blaylock's book, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills You. I was shocked after reading them, about all the things that are hidden from us. We are so trusting.

:) Kathy

I hope your chicken soup was wonderful..... :)

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)

Yes, MSG is in a lot of things. :(

The chicken soup was great!!

Michelle in Michigan

Payneville, KY(Zone 7a)

Thank you for posting that Michelle. She must have this link on her website now? I had to learn these when I bought the book. But there are cards in the book to carry in your wallet so that you don't have to remember all of these.


New York, NY

My "secret" ingredients for chicken soup are: a parsnip, a parsley root (and/or some parsley stems--don't use the leaves, because it will darken the soup) and a branch or two of tarragon.

The real "secret" to making great chicken soup is: bones. Poaching a chicken in water won't give you the body that makes a great soup. If you can find some additional chicken feet, or necks and backs or gizzards (I'm not too fond of wings, as they throw off a ton of fat) you'll get great soup. You can also consider roasting the bones for a while first, which will deepen the color and flavor.

The real, real "secret" would be my late mother's matzoh balls. She leavened them with beef marrow, and they were light as feathers. Failing that, some great tortellini or, and now I'm drooling, some little chicken liver quenelles and a dash of rainwater Madiera. But now we're getting into _haute cuisine_ instead of Mom's chicken soup.

My criterion, by the way: if the soup doesn't gel when it's cold in the fridge, it's not rich enough.

Plano, TX

oh how i loved marrow when i was younger!! but i didn't know about the bones making the chicken broth better--i am really getting a taste for good chicken soup!!

New York, NY

Not to get too involved, but basically there are two properties that bones give to a stock, whether it be veal, poultry, beef or fish. First, of course, is the flavor. You can get that from any bones. But the body, the gelatin that makes the stock (or soup) rich and lip-smacking comes not primarily from bones but from connective tissue. So if you want a good stock (or soup) you need ankle bones, neck bones, vertebrae, feet, stuff like that. It's the connective tissue that cooks out into the liquid that makes the difference.

Re: marrow. I adore it. Osso buco. Or devilled beef bones, propped up in a starched white linen napkin so that you can take a long, thin sterling spoon and scoop out the marrow. It ain't good for you. But what the heck. A couple of times a year can't hurt.

Plano, TX

we would stand around my mother waiting for her to fish the bones out and put the marrow on a half peice of bread with a little salt---and sometimes the bone was empty and it was soooooo sad!

Keaau, HI(Zone 11)

When I have to clean out the fridge of 'past their prime' vegies and have just bought new ones that need to be thinned or the outer leaves taken off etc....THAT's when I make Chicken Broth. Have to plan ahead because first I have to roast a chicken for dinner!!!

I take all the bones and skin and juices from the pan...add all the vegies and about 2 Tablespoons of vinegar (any kind) or lemon juice. The acid will leach the calcium from the bones. You cannot taste it when it is done.... After simmering for 3 or 4 hours, I drain off the broth and freeze it to make soup, boil pasta in it, make rice with...lots of things!!! If I have added carrots and squash/pumpkin to the making of the broth...i pull those out and make a Cream of Curry Soup with them...yummy. So as I buy Organic Chicken and pay so much more for it...I make as many meals as I can!!!

My Jewish MIL used to take the cooked fat from a roasted chicken and cut it into strips...then put the strips in a dry HOT frying pan and fry them up in their own fat...until they were crispy and then 'garnish' the soup with them. REALLY good!

Toadsuck, TX(Zone 7a)

1 Bay Leaf, 1-2 Tbsp minced Garlic, and 1 Tbsp. Course Ground Black Pepper.


Sugar Land, TX(Zone 9a)

Always, always....lot's of garlic. Sometimes the juice of a lime and cilantro.

Plano, TX

yes lime and cilantro for chicken tortilla soup--love that!

Tallahassee, FL

If I have a cold I like a good sprinkle of cayenne powder in my chicken broth. It will get the mucous flowing.
I have learned some interesting things from this and other threads. Wonderful it is, DG.

Charlevoix, MI(Zone 4b)

Roasting chicken bones as I type... :) My baby had surgery and all he wants is Mama's chicken noodle soup. Homemade noodles of course. My house smells heavenly right now.


Lawrenceville, GA(Zone 7b)

My husbands mom makes this and it will knock any cold out of you! OPA!

AVGOLEMONO SOUP (Greek Chicken Soup with Orzo, Egg and Lemon)


* 4 eggs
* juice of 3 lemons (make sure theyíre juicy!)
* 8 cups chicken stock
* some hot water (ONLY IF NECESSARY)
* 1 large chicken breast or 2 normal sized ones
* 1 onion, diced
* 1 1/2 cup orzo
* Salt and Pepper
* 1 teaspoon oregano
* 2 stalks chopped celery
* 3 carrots thinly sliced
What to do:

1. Bring your chicken stock to a boil. Add chicken and diced onions (20-30 minutes in total depending on size).
2. After about 15 minutes, add your orzo (takes about 12 minutes to cook).
3. After your chicken is cooked (20-30 minutes), remove and let cool for a few minutes so you can shred it (throw in the freezer if time is limited). Lower the heat on your chicken stock to low just to keep it warm. Ladle about 2 or 3 cups of the stock into a bowl to cool (you will use this to mix in with the egg and lemon mixture - must be cool to prevent it from curdeling).
4. Squeeze the lemon into a Pyrex measuring cup (or something with a spout).
5. Meanwhile, the fun part. Crack your eggs in a large bowl and vigorously whisk until the mixture looks foamy. Slowly add (while whisking at the same time) your lemon juice into the foamy egg until it is completely incorporated.
6. While continuing to whisk the foamy egg mixture, slowly add your warm/cool stock that you reserved in another bowl from step 3 until itís completely mixed in with the egg mixture (again, make sure itís not boiling hot - you donít want this to scramble!).

Slowly add this mixture back into the pot. Shred the chicken and add back into the pot. Add oregano. If extra liquid is needed, add a bit of water. Allow to come back to a decent temperature and serve immediately.

Plano, TX

another recipe for this on dave's calls for only using the egg yokes--you don't mention using only the yokes so i assume you use the whole egg?

Lawrenceville, GA(Zone 7b)

I use the whole egg. Something about the avgolemono sauce seems to loosen the congestion and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside! (avgo means egg and lemono means lemon in Greek) I'm still learning! ;)

State of..., MA(Zone 6a)

We also always use a fair amount of garlic and it wouldn't be soup without some garlic. [g] I am partial to the chicken soup we grew up with that Mom used to make. Main ingredients, simply chicken, carrots, and unpearled barley instead of the noodles. :-)


I can't wait to make this soup. Thanks!

How do you choose your lemons?


Lawrenceville, GA(Zone 7b)

I have a 9 yr old son and he is the lemon picker when it comes to shopping! ;) He picks lemons with no blemishes and are bright yellow, not too hard, not too soft, and they are always perfect.

planolinda - Do you have a tortilla soup recipe

Plano, TX

well--i don't use a recipe but here is how i make it--i use nice white meat left over from a rotiserie chicken or even a can of nice white chicken meat--you can even forgo meat-- a carton or 2 of chicken broth--add a can of black beans (be sure to rinse first), a can of corn, chopped up onion, a can of chopped green chilies along with cumin, chili powder and chopped jalopeno (from jar--be careful to only add a little, taste and add slowly to desired heat--sometimes i don't even add any)a little fresh lime juice--- that yellow rice in the little narrow packet (i don't know the name of it but any rice would do--i just like the color it adds) but to me the thing that makes it so good is the toppings
when i serve it i have tortilla strips (cut tortillas in strips and cook slowly in fry pan -no oil-dry pan-till crisp), shredded cheddar, chopped tomato/onion/cilantro with squirt of lime and sliced avacado on top---it is like a little salad on top almost! it tastes so good with the soup!!!

Clarkson, KY

Am I the only nut who uses tumeric and celery seed? I didn't think chicken soup could happen without those...'course a lot of what I think is wrong, but still... Great recipes, though -enjoying this!

Plano, TX

i like both tumeric and celery seed also--and i like the color tumeric adds--my mother added celery seed to so many dishes--funny because i don't think celery has that much flavor but it does when concentrated!--the tortilla soup i listed has mexican spices of course but both of those spices will only add to the flavor

Central, VA(Zone 7b)

I love the way these threads get recycled. We've come full circle, as it was started in January '08. I love all these ideas and will use them. Chicken soup is a warm hug.

Thanks Linda! It's one of those things I still eat in a restaurant because I can't make it well at home.

Plano, TX

well i combined ethnic chicken soups to make an international one!! i set out to make the lithuanian one of my past--made my meatballs (used lean ground chicken breast instead of ground beef) and made home made broth--but then i decided the dumplings were just too heavy and fattening for me--so that i would just make cook the meatballs in the broth--but then i like the greek lemon soup too so i added the lemon/egg mix--i also added sliced mushrooms and a wild rice/barley mix to the broth--it was very good--

Plano, TX

you are welcome andidandi--it is really not hard to make and so so good (talking about the chicken tortilla soup) some make a tomato based one too--you will have to look that up since mine is not tomato based

Have you ever seen "I Remember Mama"? Your soup reminds me of the scene in the movie where the mother gives the famous writer her recipe in exchange for reading her daughter's stories. She whispers to her, all you hear is that "the secret is to drop the meatballs into boiling stock."

Plano, TX

cute! sometimes what tastes so good really is pretty simple!

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