Soulful Chicken Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
First you make a stock. This stock making can be scaled up or down depending on your needs and the size of your stockpot. I always make more stock than I will need and freeze the rest. It will become one of your most valuable culinary assets.
Recipe by:
Serves: 4 to 6
Dark Chicken Stock
  • 6 pounds chicken bones (backs, necks, wings, thighs, and legs are best) or leftover chicken carcasses you have stored up
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 large yellow onions, quartered
  • 4 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 6 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup firmly packed flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stalks
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 pounds chicken feet, cleaned
  • 1 ½ gallons (24 cups) cold water
Chicken Soup
  • 12 cups dark chicken stock
  • 6 chicken legs, skin removed
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and shaved into ribbons
  • ½ cup tender green leafy vegetable, such as celery leaves or spinach
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast meat, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thigh meat, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • Kosher salt
Dark Chicken Stock
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Using paper towels, pat all the chicken pieces dry. Place chicken on metal sheet trays and with 2 tablespoons of oil rub the pieces lightly. Place the trays in the oven and roast until browned (not burnt), approximately 90 minutes.
  3. On another sheet tray, place the onions, carrots and celery and rub with the remaining oil. Place in the oven and roast until browned (not burnt), approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, add the chicken bones and vegetables. Deglaze each of the pans with a little water and scrape the bits and pieces with a spatula. Add to the pot along with the thyme, garlic, parsley, peppercorns, bay leaves and all of the fresh chicken feet. Add the cold water. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low before it begins to boil. Continue to simmer the stock for 8 hours periodically skimming the surface of fat and scum. Turn off the heat and let the stock cool down.
  5. With a fine mesh strainer (or cheesecloth) over a large container, pour the stock making sure to strain off all bones and solids and discard them. Refrigerate the stock overnight.
  6. Remove the stock from the refrigerator and using a large metal spoon, remove the fat cap that forms on top and discard. The stock will be congealed and almost Jello-like in texture. This is a sign that the collagen has released from the chicken bones and feet. Spoon the stock back into a clean stockpot and return to a simmer on the stovetop. Continue cooking uncovered and reduce the stock to approximately 1 gallon (16 cups). Let the stock cool down.
  7. Over a large container with a fine mesh strainer (or cheesecloth), strain the stock a final time removing any scum or particles. Use the stock immediately or divide into containers with tight fitting lids (I use 1-quart Mason jars) and freeze until ready to use. Another option, if you think you will be storing the stock for many months, is to leave a layer of fat on top. Like paraffin in a jam jar, when frozen this layer of chicken fat will preserve the stock for safekeeping. Additionally, I like to freeze a portion of the stock in ice cube trays and once frozen pop them into freezer storage bags. Then you can take them out one at a time for sauce making or add to vegetables, etc.
Chicken Soup
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add the dark chicken stock along with the chicken legs and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the vegetables and herbs along with the breast and thigh meat and simmer for 15 minutes longer until the chicken is fully cooked. Season to taste with salt. Serve in large bowls making sure that the chicken is evenly dispersed with a whole chicken leg in each bowl.
I do not add tomato paste or wine to my chicken stock, but I do in my beef stock (another post). You will notice there is no salt, ground black pepper (peppercorns only) or any spicy Cajun seasonings of any kind. It is important to protect the integrity and purity of the stock without any overt spice components that compete with the flavor of chicken. Seasonings (including salt) should be used only in the finished dish. Freeze leftover chicken (or turkey) carcasses and vegetable peels and stalks for making this stock. You will be surprised how fast they accumulate. If using fresh whole chicken pieces, remove most of the meat from the thighs and breast pieces and reserve for another use. (It is okay if the bones still have meat clinging to them.)
Recipe by Acadiana Table at