Soup's On! My Favorite Bone Broth and Soup Recipes
I know Fall doesn’t officially start until September 22, but there’s a chill in the air, and that can only mean one thing. No, not pumpkin spice lattes. It’s time for soup!
Truth be told, I could eat soup in the dead of summer, but it’s my go-to meal when the temperature starts to drop. I crave crunchy cold salads in the spring and summer, but soup has my heart and stomach in the fall and winter.
When I think of soup, I think of comfort. As a little kid, I loved Campbell’s chicken and stars soup. If I was home sick from school, chicken and stars and saltine crackers made everything better.
As I got older, I started to appreciate homemade soups. My mom was a prolific soup maker. At any given time, there were two kinds of homemade soup in the fridge and another pot of soup or broth bubbling on the stove.
Why Make Soup?
There are plenty of prepared soups on the market and you can get soup to go in lots of delis and supermarket hot food bars. I think they tend to be overly salty, and you don’t really know what’s in them, so why not make your own soup?
There are tons of soup recipes out there, but you probably already have the ingredients you need to make some kind of soup. Yes, there’s some peeling and chopping involved, but other than that, it doesn't require any complicated culinary skills.
Make a big pot of soup on Sunday and it lasts for days. On a busy weeknight, you’ve got a one-pot meal that can be reheated and ready to eat in minutes.
If you make an extra big batch, some soups can be frozen. You’ll always have something ready to eat.
You know how you’re always trying to drink enough water? Well, soup is one of those hydrating foods that are not only delicious but also help meet your hydration goals for the day.
With a few humble ingredients, you can make a delicious, healthy, and economical meal or appetizer that feeds a crowd.
It’s a great way to use up vegetables or small leftover portions of meat so you cut back on food waste.
It’s healthy and delicious
The soups I feature in this blog are loaded with vegetables that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Beans and legumes are easy protein substitutes for meatless meals.
Bone broth is full of protein, vitamins, and minerals that support healthy bones and joints, and relieve digestive issues.
There are lots of delicious boxed and canned broths and stocks on the market. They’re inexpensive and convenient. In addition to beef and chicken, you can also find prepared vegetable and fish stocks.
There are always a couple of boxes of low-sodium beef and chicken broth in my pantry. I use them to make a quick soup, thin out a soup that’s too thick (Can a soup ever be too thick?), or use them instead of water to add extra flavor when making rice or gravy.
As convenient as boxed broths are nothing beats homemade bone broth for soup. The collagen from the bones gives it a mouthfeel that you can’t get from the boxed stuff. Bone broth is also delicious and nourishing on its own sipped like tea.
Bone broth is easy to make. It only requires time and patience. You can speed up the process using a pressure cooker or set it and forget it using a slow cooker.
There are thousands of bone broth recipes online. Some call for you to roast the bones; others don’t. Some use a whole chicken, chicken parts, or the carcass from a roasted chicken.
I like using the leftover carcass, wings, and bones from a roasted chicken or store-bought rotisserie chicken. If the chicken is small, I’ll freeze the carcass, wings, and bones to make bone broth with the next roasted chicken I make or buy.
I’ve also made bone broth using raw chicken thighs. I removed the meat from the bones after about 2 hours of cooking so as not to overcook it. Then I chop up the meat and add it back to the finished soup or use it for something else.
Here’s the easiest and most economical way I know of making chicken bone broth.
Nancy’s Chicken Bone Broth
Put the chicken carcass, wings, and bones from a roasted chicken in a large stock pot.
Add 2 ribs of celery and 2 carrots chopped into 3 or 4 pieces and 1 large onion, quartered.
Smash and peel a couple of cloves of garlic
Add a splash of cider vinegar (this helps draw the collagen out of the bones), a bay leaf, a heaping teaspoon of kosher salt, and a teaspoon of whole peppercorns
Throw a few sprigs of fresh parsley and/or thyme if you have them.
Cover everything with water plus an additional inch above it (about 3 quarts) and bring to a boil.
Once it starts boiling, reduce the temperature to low, cover, and simmer all day long - about 10 to 15 hours. If any foam or scum appears while boiling, you can skim it off. ***Alternatively, instead of cooking on the stovetop, you can dump everything in a slow cooker set to low and let it cook overnight (24 hours) or use a pressure cooker and let it cook for 2 hours.
Once the broth is finished cooking, remove the large pieces of bone and vegetables, and then strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer.
Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. If it doesn’t taste “chickeny” enough, instead of salt, add a couple of chicken bouillon cubes - I won’t tell.
After it cools, remove the hardened layer of fat that forms on top of the broth.
Use the broth within a week or freeze it for later use.
My Favorite Soup Recipes
For a little inspiration, here are links to some of my favorite soup recipes. All these soups are extremely hearty. Alone they would make a delicious, satisfying lunch or serve with a hunk of warm crusty bread and a side salad for dinner.
Mini Meatball Soup
Also known as Italian Wedding soup, this hearty soup is kid-friendly and a household favorite here at the cabin. Tiny meatballs floating in golden broth with veggies and pasta–what’s not to love?
Here’s my favorite Mini Meatball Soup recipe from Rachael Ray
Classic Minestrone Soup
This delicious hearty soup is loaded with vegetables, beans, and pasta and garnished with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese - yum!
The recipe calls for vegetable broth, but you can also make it with chicken broth.
Here’s my favorite Minestrone Soup recipe from Cookie and Kate
French Onion Soup
OMG - How I love this stuff! French onion soup is on just about every restaurant menu, but this homemade version is so much better.
With only a few simple ingredients, you get a delicious, gourmet soup with a certain je ne sais quoi. The taste only gets better the next day.
Make some tonight–And don’t even think about skipping the toast and melted cheese topping!
Here’s my favorite French Onion Soup recipe from Smitten Kitchen
Lentil and Vegetable soup
Okay, so it may not be much to look at, but lentil and vegetable soup is absolutely delicious. These humble ingredients, which you probably already have, create a one-pot meal that you can enjoy for days.
A few soup pro tips: The recipe calls for small green French lentils, but you can use yellow or red lentils. Definitely use vegetable stock or chicken broth instead of water—it adds more flavor and depth. Instead of kale, you can use baby spinach - no chopping required.
Here’s my favorite Lentil and Vegetable Soup recipe from Simply Recipes.
While not technically a soup, this flavorful combination of jasmine rice, lentils, vegetables, and spices is a must-try.
Kitchari is India’s version of Grandma’s Chicken Soup. It’s typically eaten during a cleanse or as a comforting and easy-to-digest meal when you’re feeling sick or depleted.
Here’s my favorite Kitchari recipe by Gaia.
You can follow the recipe as is or with a few changes I noted below:
Grate the ginger instead of dicing it.
Don’t worry if you don’t have hing or asafoetida. I never use it and it’s just fine.
Instead of split mung dal, I use dry red or yellow lentils.
Instead of ghee, I use olive oil.
If you add some harder vegetables like chopped carrots or sweet potato, sauté them with the onions to soften them a bit.
And there you have it--My ode to soup.
What's your favorite soup? Comment below to let me know.