Chicken Soup…. more like stew.

Have to tell you guys about this soup/stew recipe. Strangest thing is, ….it has restorative powers. I’m not lying and never run into anything quite like it in 30yrs of active cooking. We joke, “it’s like an IV fluid for those who are disease ridden, exhausted, or homesick”. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook, and ran a high end catering company for years, but this is different. It’s not like regular food. Sure, many casseroles have that “homecooked” feel, but we’ve never had a similar response like we get with this soup/stew. Since it’s cold outside, and cold and flu season, I thought it would be nice to share the bounty. I’m giving this to you exactly like we make it. No secrets between friends at QTree.

Chicken Soup/Stew ~ 30-50 hearty man-size servings, enough to share and be generous.

  • Ingredients/Instructions:
  • In an 8qt stockpot, dissolve 15 chicken bullion cubes and 15 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Add 2lbs of lentils and cook over medium for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and set aside for an hour. Drain, saving juice, (let the sludge remain at the bottom, we’re going to use the top half for later). Set aside. While waiting on the lentils to soak….. (yes, you can use white beans to make it prettier, but lentils have more protein).
  • 5lbs of Carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8″-1/2″ slices. Set aside.
  • 2 big bunches of celery, washed and trimmed of bad spots. Sliced into 3/8″-1/2″ slices, and yes, even the leaves and hearts. Set aside.
  • 2 bunches of parsley, washed and finely diced. Set aside.
  • 5lbs of trimmed up chicken breasts, remove all fat and cartilage, cut into pieces about 3/4″ cubes, drop all the pieces into a Glad Bag of 2 cups of flour, shake to coat (you can add a little salt, pepper, nutmeg. I do, but you don’t need it. I sometimes steal a little bit of the cooked chicken for salads later on). Get rid of the excess four. Set aside.
  • 2 medium onions or one super large onion, peel and quarter, and place in a food processor, pulse until pulverized. Set aside.
  • Measure out 2cups of milk, I use 2%.
  • Need 1 1/2 sticks more butter, unsalted.
  • 1 Cup of Flour
  • Bottle of a good dry white wine.
  • 1 HEAPING tablespoon of dried tarragon.
  • 2lbs of Bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces before cooking makes for perfect bacon bits.
  • 4 extra bullion cubes and 4 cups of water (you might need more water later).
  • No extra salt or pepper, not needed.

Ready to start?

  • Start with a big stock pot. At least 16qts, heavy bottom.
  • 2lbs of Bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces and saute, stirring continuously. They will all get done at the same time. Remove from pan to drain on paper towels. Set aside. Dump all excess grease from the stock pot and dab the bottom with a paper towel, but DO NOT CLEAN the bottom.
  • Return pan to heat. Into same pot, with bacon residue on bottom, add 1 stick butter, juice of 2 lemons and about a 1/2 cup of wine. We’re deglazing the bottom of the pan with a metal spatula, removing the bacon crinkles from bottom of pan. Once that is done, cook the chicken. Remove and drain with copious amounts of paper towels, set aside. Do NOT clean the pot.
  • Return pot to heat. Into same pot, dump the onions and stir for about 5 minutes, deglazing again. Add carrots, celery, and blend to coat with onions. Add up to 1/2 bottle of wine and the tarragon. Add the top 1/2 of the juice from the lentils, discarding sludge at the bottom. Add 4 more bullion cubes and enough water to cover the vegetables. Let it simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are al dente.

Meanwhile, while we’re waiting on the carrots/celery to cook…..

  • We’re going to make a roux to thicken the soup/stew. In another pan, like a broad shallow chicken fryer skillet, over med heat, melt 1 1/2 sticks of butter, add 1 cup flour until lightly toasted. Working constantly with a sturdy whisk, add the milk, slowly, and whatever is left of the wine. Set aside.
  • When the carrots are done, dump in the lentils and blend carefully. Remove from heat for a minute for the next step.
  • Into a large bowl, take out half the carrot/celery/lentil broth mixture. Run 1/2 through a food processor, pulsing to break up big chunks. This way you get thicker stew and small and big chunks of veggies. Return all the soup mix to the pot.
  • In same food processor, shred 1/2 of the chicken into smaller pieces. Dump all the chicken into the same big soup pot.
  • Add the roux (flour/milk/wine) to thicken. If you need to add water to the stew, add 1 cup at a time. Blend carefully.
  • Add the parsley.

The whole thing need to come to a boil, sort of, it will never really boil but becomes very hot. You need this step to activate the flour and thicken properly. It takes about 30-45 minutes on my stove top. Be careful and don’t use too high of heat as the bottom burns and the soup will be ruined. I stir about every 5-7 minutes during this process, checking the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.

It’s supposed to simmer for about an hour, but I’ve never had my family wait that long to grab a bowl. We keep the whole pot, lid turned upside down, in an extra fridge and anyone can grab a cup, warm up in the microwave, when they are hungry. To stretch even further, add 2-12oz bags of frozen, then cooked, green beans, for a nice addition. Fresh mushrooms don’t work, too much moisture, I’ve tried. Peas don’t work well either. We serve with about a tablespoon of bacon bits on the top and I still have bacon bits leftover for salads.

It’s a killer recipe, incredibly healthy, and lasts all week long. I dole out portions to the son in college and his roomies, sick folks from church, or hungry firemen/police if they have a big incident.

One note: The recipe originally called for 5lbs of potatoes and we made it this way for a few years. Substituting the lentils (or white beans) is like a protein injection and no sleepiness from the high carbs of the potatoes.

One more note: I found this is a great team project. Husbands have no objection to slicing up vegetables and kids can peel carrots. They set up with a big cutting board in front of a football game. Makes it easier and everyone has a hand in.

It’s a super food.

Stay warm and healthy, love to all.

Note to Alison: No dried apricots in this one. Bwwhahahaa!

42 thoughts on “Chicken Soup…. more like stew.

  1. Dang. I wanted to deglaze the apricots 🤓🤣

    Thanks for this delicious, nutritious recipe, Daughn. Thickening it makes me yearn for dumplings (talk about sleep-inducing comfort food). Sure would be fun to all have our chopping blocks together for this one 💖💖🇺🇸🇺🇸

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Mind you, I’m putting forth an alternative based solely on intuition — I’ve never actually prepared the dish in question.

    I’m not a great fan of chicken bouillon — commercial preparations tend to be full of salt, MSG, and preservatives. I would substitute an herb broth with wine for the lentil prep (with maybe some chicken broth/stock). And, BTW, a mix of various colors of lentils would provide visual interest.

    When dusting the chicken pieces, I would add garlic powder, definitely fine-ground pepper, and powdered sage/chilis/mustard to taste. Mind you, each of these cooks to a different flavor than raw.

    I’ve come to regard 2% milk as “unhealthy milk” — if you’re going to use it, use the full-fat version.

    Winemakers continually assert that you need to use drinking-quality wine for cooking……and, indeed, you can use some utter plonk that produces results that scare you off from using anything else. But Trader Joe’s has some $4-$5 wines that are perfectly adequate for cooking — and maybe a nip to help you through the process.

    I’m not sure I’d go all-in on tarragon for this. I tend to think of chicken tarragon in a cream sauce, not a stew. I might go with an abundance of thyme and some savory. Since the original favors parsley, then sage and rosemary may play a part.

    After cooking the bacon, I’d drain excess drippings but reserve enough to cook the chicken without any added butter — because, bacon. After cooking the chicken, I’d drain excess drippings (if any) before cooking the onions, carrots, and celery — again, it’s more flavorful to be cooking the veggies in bacon and chicken drippings than butter.

    If you reserved the bacon drippings for the roux, that works nicely. And it’s cool to “revive” dried seasoning herbs in wine before adding them in the last 1/2 hour of cooking.

    It does sound delicious and restorative while being susceptible to individual taste.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I’m in the same boat. I do believe that for many, this dish may have restorative powers, but the bullion, lentils (or beans) and a few other things are out for me.

      The nice thing about recipes like this is that cooks can substitute away.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Cthulhu likes the full fat version, hehe, that’s okay too.
      Note: I’ve tried thyme, both fresh from the garden and dried, not good. Sage and rosemary fresh in the garden also, but not so good in the soup.
      I did try an herb broth once, but found the aroma and taste of the fresh vegetables to be better, and don’t need to hide.
      Personal choice though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m with Cthulhu on the 2%……loaded with carbs and sugar in lieu of the fat.
        BTW – fat in food doesn’t make one fat as long as they stay active; an active body burns the fat before the carbs and sugar.

        Sad new for bacon-eers…saw an interview on Fox Bus, some guy is trying to come up with a meat-free bacon, because of the Big Meat / Climate Change Hoax…so many ‘smart’ people are really dumb-ass gullible.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Sorry, I always start with chicken bones (No need to take all the meat off)
    place bones into a stock pot.
    Add enough water to cover the bones.
    Add a good glug of lemon juice — The acid will leach the calcium and other minerals out of the bones.
    Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to a simmer.
    Cook until the meat falls of the bones. Usually a couple of hours.
    ….

    Transfer to a second stock pot through a strainer.
    Remove the meat from the bones. Toss the bones and save the meat to return to the soup.
    In the soup stock, add
    pre-soaked beans. If you wash and soak dried beans overnight in the frig, it drastically cuts the cooking time.
    carrots, (You can dice veggies as the beans are cooking)
    celery, diced
    1 large onion, diced

    Simmer until the carrots are starting to get tender.
    Add spices — Minced garlic, thyme, sage, parsley, rosemary, turmeric, pepper, KCl salt.
    Add ~ 1/2 cup to 1 cup of GOOD DRINKING WINE (i use a white Riesling.)
    Add back the meat removed from the bones and any other left over cooked chicken meat.

    Simmer another 10 minutes.
    5 minutes before serving, I add diced Bok Choy, White stems first and then the leaves.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Normally for 17 bean soup I use pork sausage, instead of chicken.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I just cooked a YUGE turkey, sliced and froze the meat for summer sandwiches and salads and turned the rest into soup stock. Now I only have 3 more frozen turkeys in the freezer to cook before the winter is over….

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Gail, I want your freezer! I don’t even look at recipes that instruct putting the dish in the freezer…ha! Mine are stuffed to the gils.
        I am going to put my thinking cap on and see how I can reduce this recipes, with some of the suggested variations, to a more manageable amount for two. We were just looking in the fridge this morning and noting all the food that needs to be used..potato ham soup, clams with pasta, one lamb chop from last night’s dinner, etc. Hubby loves lamb and one of our stores has lamb loin roast featured tomorrow…into the freezer it goes.
        When I was a child living in the farm lands of the PNW, it was customary to “put up” an incredible amount of fruit, vegetables, jams, even canned chicken, etc. all summer, plus a whole beef packaged for the freezer. I’m talking perhaps a hundred jars of food stored outside in the “pump house.” Mom even made her own pickles and sauerkraut as well as other things I probably forgot.
        I think that’s where my “prepper” mentality originated…so it’s an honest personality trait. 😉
        Many years ago, while living in another location, I used to make 6-12 fruit pies at a time and freeze them, unbaked, to use in the winter. It was a dedicated freezer for baking items in the basement of a huge house ..and I miss it (although I can’t recall the last time I made a pie…sigh.)
        Just a comment about ingredients…for the past 3 years or so we’ve been following a low carb diet, primarily for weight control. Now, I’m working closely with a wellness doctor regarding my mysterious hives and other immune system issues. So, he wants me back on legumes, rice, even occasional potatoes, etc! After avoiding them rigorously for such a long period, now I feel guilty! LOL. No whole grains such as wheat, corn, oats…but you’d be amazed how many things out there are made with white beans, red lentils, black beans, cauliflower, etc,…mind-boggling. It’s like going in a treasure hunt in the grocery stores these days.
        Thanks for the recipe, Daughn, and starting the conversation. A breath of fresh air from all the drama we are bombarded with every day.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Teagan,
          I have one freezer in the house and I just got another that is in the locked, garage/workshop.

          I HATE to cook so I do binge cooking. I will make hearty soups, beef, pork/sausage, chicken, turkey, homemade tomato sauce and freeze in 2 person amounts.

          I then add my delicates like bok choy, water chestnuts, peapods… when I warm up the frozen soup. I generally stay away from the carbs except for rice and sometimes the legume type beans.

          >>>>>>>>>

          If you do not have a reaction to rice, have you tried just rice for a few days ===> a week and then add one item as a time to see if you react?

          I did that and found I had a lot more food allergies then I originally thought I did. I learned to not combine too many of the foods I have a mild allergy to at once so I do not have an accumulative effect.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. I’m thinking I might try this, but like you am cooking for 2. Quartering it roughly, ought to work. I’ll probably add more onion though, not soak the lentils because they don’t really need soaking, they’ll cook in about 45 minutes, especially for a smaller amount. So after cooking them for about 35 minutes or so, I would add the veggies, and probably cook it for another 10 minutes or so as the veggies will cook quicker because the amount in the pot won’t take as long to heat up. I’ve got boneless thighs in my freezer right now, so that’s what I’ll be using. Plus it’ll give me a way to use up some canned chicken stock that my hubby bought too much of which I rarely use, but it needs to go away.

          I made a big pot of soup the other day with some hamburger I canned as well as adding some left over pot roasted lamb. Looks like there’s about 2 more days left on it. Since we’ve got snow now, soups and stews always are nice to have on hand.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I generally go whole hog and use:

            When I was up north I made it with Star Market’s Garlic Sausage, onions, celery, & mushrooms. It was to die for!

            I really wish I could get sausage as flavorful as that Star Market sausage. I am going to see if I can come up with a good homemade sausage recipe so I can substitute KCl for NaCl salt.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. That looks like a good bean mix! The last few years the only bean mix available is a 10 bean mix which is not nearly as good. I usually end up adding a couple of other beans to it if I have them.

              Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m laughing and you will too.
      First time I made chicken and rice soup, I made the broth from bones. Put through a regular colander to strain………. bad idea, still had parts in my soup, impossible to remove, had to throw the whole thing away.

      In later years, the broth takes an extra day for me. Have to let the fats distill and hate waiting.
      When I do have time, homemade stock is best. Even froze it into ice cube trays to use in small bits.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. I will not use store bought soups (too much sodium and it tastes horrible) So my freezer is full of bones and bone stock. I hate to toss bones, knowing I can make bone stock from them. So in the freezer I go until I have enough to fill the stock pot.

          I like to have soup in the winter several time a week. Perhaps that is why Hubby and I rarely get sick.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Getting away from NaCl aka regular salt is even worse. They put it in EVERYTHING, soda, bread, some frozen veggies, cheese even the ‘brine pack’ from certain chicken brands.

              It makes shopping a royal pain.

              And forget eating out except on special occasions.

              Liked by 1 person

    3. I also make bone broth. I add to the Chicken bones the green tops of leek, one carrot, celery , parsnip and an onion with cloves stuck in.
      I drain the broth after cooking for at least 5 hours.
      Instead of noodles I use a blend of harvest grain Israeli Cuscus, Orzo, Baby Garbanzo Beans and Red Quinoa.
      The mix I buy at Trader Joe’s.
      I use the left over chicken meat after roasting a chicken. I also cut in some Italian sausage from Whole Foods.
      I also brown the vegetables with bacon, white of the leeks, carrots, celery and parsnip.
      I use plenty of parsley to finish the soup. Other herbs are from the roasting of chicken meat that adds flavor.
      I do not use bouillon cubes but used too many moons ago. I now add a little sea salt. I find that the bacon, roasted chicken and Italian sausage gives the soup the special flavor.
      Yes the soup is healthy and healing. We have come a long way from cooking chicken feet with some carrots and celery to make a healing soup 🙂
      By the way the bone broth from organic free range chicken is important for my soup. Adding some white wine is good also
      Thank you Daughn for sharing your soup.
      Thank you for all who contribute their own soup recipe 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Our nearest Trader Joe store is at least 60 miles away and in a direction i rarely go. In fact, I’ve probably only been once or twice to one. The Whole Foods that went in about 25 miles away didn’t last more than 2 years…terrible location choice, for one thing.
        I would love to have access to a Trader Joe’s!
        Singing soul…your broths sound delicious and so beneficial!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Teagan I understand about Trader Joe’s. I have to drive 2 hours to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
          My meat I order at Moinks and it is organic free range chicken , pork , Beef Lamb and wild salmon.
          Where we live there is only Kroger and I can get organic vegetables and some fruit.
          I grow also my own still have greens and all my Herbs.
          Buying the way we do we have to be very organized because sometimes I do not get to Columbus for 4 weeks.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. I couldnt make this big of a recipe, ever, but it sounds good. I dont use boullion cubes but I do like low salt base. If I tried to make it but much smaller, could I delete the bacon?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You will laugh, I remember sending Big T to the store in search of low salt bullion cubes. They don’t make them. So, I remove all the other salts in the recipe.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. No tarragon for me. Just don’t like the flavor and don’t like the licorice herbs – fennel and anise either.

    Our family has always made chicken and turkey soup from the bones of roast chicken and I add a little fresh garlic, parsley, celery and carrot to the broth.

    When the meat is coming off the bones, drain, save the broth, pick out the meat and discard the soggy vegetables and the bones.

    Then add brown rice to the broth, cook till nearly done, add the chicken meat, fresh chopped parsley, celery and carrot…season to taste with salt and pepper if needed (We love a touch of Old Bay seasoning in this soup).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A little white wine in the original stock making or in the finish phase is also excellent.

      When I cook a turkey breast, I salt and pepper liberally, then roast it upside down in a foil wrapper, fill the hollow with the above vegetables and white wine. It’s always so juicy and delicious!

      Like

  6. I started making this today, quartering it, and because of what I had on hand and didn’t have, ended up with a clear broth lentil soup seasoned with a small piece of bay leaf, sage, thyme, savory and no lemon juice, parsley or tarragon. I got to the point where it was ready to be thickened, and tasted the lentils, veggies, and chicken which were all together at that point, and stopped. It was DELICIOUS. I’ve not cooked very much with lentils so I really appreciate a good introduction to making them quite tasty. Thanks very much!

    Now I’ve got my dutch oven full of a hearty chicken and lentil soup!

    Liked by 1 person

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