Once you've cooked the chicken, this soup is a snap to make.
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Makes: 10–12 cups
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cup
- Sharp knife (adult needed)
- Cutting board
- Large heavy bottomed pot
- Wooden spoon
- 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 2 carrots, scrubbed or peeled and sliced
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or more, if you like it brothy)
- ½ cup brown rice, barley, or small pasta (such as alphabets or orzo)
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Before You Begin:
- Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them.
- Clean the counter top with a sponge.
- Gather all your kitchen gear and ingredients and put them on the counter.
- Scrub all the fruits and vegetables and lay them out on a dishtowel to dry.
- Prepare your ingredients, which means you may have to do something before you get started with the instructions.
- Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. When it is hot (flick some water on—it should dance and evaporate immediately), carefully add the oil.
- Add the onion, celery, and carrots, and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. (You’ll know the broth is boiling when you see bubbles breaking all over the surface.) Lower the heat to low, and cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender and no longer float on the surface, about 30 minutes.
- Add the rice, barley, or pasta and cook until tender, about 20 minutes for pasta, 40 minutes for brown rice or barley. (If you want, you can use leftover cooked grains or pasta. If so, skip this step and add them when you add the chicken in step 5. This will also cut 20 minutes off the cooking time.)
- Add the chicken, stir, and cook until heated throughout, about 3 minutes.
- Serve right away or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.
Lemony Chicken Soup: Add 1 bay leaf and 1 strip lemon zest when you add the stock. Remove both before serving.
Herby Chicken Soup: Add 1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh), 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh), and ¼ teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh). If you’re using dried herbs, add them when you cook the veggies. If you’re using fresh herbs, stir them in right before serving the soup.
Garlicky Ginger Soup: Add 1 tablespoon fresh ginger and 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced, when you add the onion.
Curried Chicken Soup: When you cook the veggies, add 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cubed, 1 to 2 tablespoons curry powder, and 1 tomato, cubed. Stir in ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves just before serving.
Lettuce Eat Chicken Soup: Add 6 leaves romaine lettuce or spinach, chopped, when you add the rice, barley, or pasta, and ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese just before serving.
Basil Chicken Soup: Swirl in 1 to 2 tablespoons pesto just before serving.
Tortilla Soup: Skip the rice, barley, or pasta and stir in ¼ cup chopped cilantro, the juice of half a lime, and a handful of tortilla chips just before serving.
Tortellini Soup: Add cooked tortellini in Step 5 instead of the cooked rice, barley, or small pasta.
Get an adult’s permission and help with all sharp knives, appliances (blender and food processor), the stove or oven, and hot ingredients.
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