Nanny’s Chicken Soup For The Soul: A Recipe

This recipe is one of the best, most healing elixirs I know.

chicken soup for the soul recipe by apartmentdiet

Me and my whole family got slammed the last week with a nasty flu. It made me think a lot about what we could eat given we all had sore throats

…and of course my thoughts turned to chicken noodle soup.

But you certainly don’t need to have the flu to make and eat it!

…I’ve made this chicken soup many times over the years. It’s a recipe that’s a hybrid of my grandmothers Ruth and Channah’s recipes and my own personal preferences and experiments. It really is one of the most healing elixirs I know how to make and I’m happy to share the recipe with you all.  You’ll find it below, along with instructions for how to make it vegetarian.

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A note on the recipe: this type of recipe allows for a reasonable amount of variation vis a vis leek (my preference), or onions and garlic or all three. Same with the veggies I add. I use parsnip or celery root, zucchini, leek and carrot…and I chop them roughly. You could just as easily dice them perfectly. Or add something you think belongs. I use chicken with the skin you may prefer without. Both my grandma’s added chicken neck and bellybutton. I do not. Nanny Ruth sometimes added a piece of meat (making it a meaty broth). I only add stock powder for the vegetarian version but you may like it with the chicken. I add spices like chilli and herbamare spice mix when I feel like it. You can add parsley and fresh dill (recommend doing this at the end) too.

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A note on noodles. I recommend cooking the noodles separately then adding them to each bowl of hot soup (you can warm the noodles in a bit of soup if you think they’re too cold). This is my Nanny Ruth’s way and it stops the soup and noodles from becoming a  gluggy mess ;)

Finally, allow yourself to experiment. Enjoy it. These foods are handed down over generations but they were never intended to be cooked exactly the same way every time.

And mostly, enjoy magical power of chicken soup for the soul.


Ingredients (Serves 8)

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large leek, chopped (or 2 onions or 1 large onion and some garlic cloves)
  • Chicken: two quarters and 3 wings with skin, salt it and rinse it^
  • 3 carrots, peeled + chopped / diced
  • 1 medium parsnip or 1 celery root chopped / diced
  • 1 leek chopped / diced
  • 2 zucchinis chopped / diced
  • Water to fill the pot
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

+ Egg noodles (or rice or semolina)


Additional spices (optional):

Chili powder, herbamare powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or parsley

Add neck, giblets or belly button or my grandmother Ruth’s secret, add a piece of oso bucco beef. If you use beef, boil with water in a separate pot, rinse and then add beef to soup.


Take a large pot and…

  1. Gently saute the chopped leek in olive oil*
  2. Add the chicken and seal until it’s lightly brown*
  3. Throw in all the veggies
  4. Cover ingredients with water filling the pot 3/4
  5. Add spices: salt, pepper, chilli, fresh garlic / garlic powder (don’t worry, you can always add more while it cooks)
  6. Place lid on pot and cook until it boils
  7. Once it boils, turn down to simmer with the lid off / or half off and simmer for 2-3 hours (yes, this is how it gets nice and thick and dark and brothy as opposed to light and clear consomme-like)
  8. Taste test – see if it needs more spices + add optional parsely and dill at this stage
  9. Remove the chicken bones and skin ~
  10. Cook noodles and serve in bowls together with soup

…and ENJOY!



* My parents want me to add that this my additions of frying a leek and browning the chicken are not traditional to either of their Mums’ recipes – it’s true, but for me it gives more flavour.

^ you can use pieces of chicken of your choice

To make a vegetatian “chicken soup” substitute chicken with 2-3tablespoons of “vegetarian chicken stock”. The closest to chicken soup flavour I’ve come across is Osem’s Parve Chicken Stock (make sure it includes the word “parve” which guarantees there’s no meat in it)

~ My family always eats the soup-cooked chicken in the soup or as a side dish. It’s soft and a lot of kids also love it.


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