Weekly Swoon: Nonna’s Chicken Soup

The ultimate comfort food has arrived.

By: rē•spin
Weekly Swoon: Nonna’s Chicken Soup

There’s something undeniably inviting about a bowl of chicken noodle soup; it’s simply one of life’s humble pleasures. Think back to when you were a child feeling unwell. Chances are, your family would rely on the healing powers of a piping hot bowl of chicken soup to get you back on your feet. Even as adults, there’s something emotionally comforting about a bowl of chicken soup. The aroma, heat, and spices from the soup can help clear sinuses and improve symptoms of infection in our bodies, and the broths and stocks are full of minerals like selenium and phosphorus.

But chicken soup just feels familiar; it feels like home, even if we’re feeling perfectly healthy. As the temperatures drop, a homemade batch of soup is a failsafe option to rē•ignite the joy within and envelope you in a warm hug from within. And really, what better time is there to break out the stockpot than during national soup month? 

As we embrace the new year and continue our journeys of mindful living, let’s bring that into the kitchen, too. rē•spin your routine and swap out the mindset of “healthy meals” with “mindful meals,” instead. Let’s start here, with Athena Calderone’s beloved chicken soup recipe. Go through the preparation process mindfully and approach mealtime with the same sense of presence. Hearty and healthy can both coexist in your world of wellness; all it takes is some balance.

Chicken Soup Ingredients:

Serves 6-8

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 bone-in chicken breast (about 1 ½ pound)
  • 2 yellow onions, 1 diced, 1 halved
  • 5 or 6 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 medium parsnips, chopped
  • 2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 pound dried acini di pepe pasta, or another small pasta such as tubettini, orzo, or ditalini
  • 1 small handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Grated pecorino Romano cheese, for serving
  • Lemon wedges, for serving.

Method of Preparation:

  1. Place the whole chicken and breast in a large stockpot.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, parsnips, stock, salt, and 2 cups water—or enough to just cover the chicken. 
  3. Season with pepper. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring it to a simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the surface.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, covered until the chicken begins to fall off the bone, about 1½ hours.
  5. Using tongs, remove the chicken pieces, onion halves, and thyme sprigs.
  6. Discard the chicken bones and skin, then tear the meat into bite-size pieces and return it to the pot. Taste for seasoning.
  7. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente.
  8. To serve, place a heaping spoonful of pasta into individual bowls and ladle the soup over the pasta.
  9. Sprinkle it with parsley, pepper, and a hearty helping of cheese, and serve with lemon wedges on the side.
  10. Leftover soup (without the pasta) can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  11. The soup can also be frozen for up to 1 month.



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