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Grandma's Chicken Soup


Soups and Salads


Recipe from Ciao Italia Family Classics


"Una gallina vecchia fa buon brodo." That's what my grandmother used to say, and she was right: an old hen made good broth because it had more fat. But it also has tough muscles and needed to be stewed, not roasted, so its meat would be tender. Since chicken is pretty much uniformly processed in this country, it might be harder to find an old hen-unless you have access to a chicken farmer. Whole chicken from your favorite grocery store will work just fine.

Number of Servings

Serves 4


2 large all-purpose potatoes, well scrubbed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One 3½ pound whole chicken, rinsed well and patted dry
1 onion, peeled
10 whole cloves garlic
1 whole bay leaf
1 small bunch parsley, thyme, rosemary or tarragon, tied with kitchen cooking string
2 carrots, peeled and cut into quarters
2 ribs celery, cut into quarters
2 cups peeled and diced plum tomatoes, or one 16-ounce-can diced tomatoes
Fine sea salt, to taste
Grinding black pepper

Preparation - Directions

1. Microwave the potatoes until tender. Cool, then peel and dice them; set aside.

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil and brown the chicken on all sides over medium heat. Stud the onion with the cloves and add to the pot. Add the bay leaf, parsley, carrots, celery and tomatoes.

2. Slowly pour in enough cold water just to cover all the ingredients. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer the chicken until fork tender and falling apart at the bone.

3. Using a wide-slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a cutting board. Remove the onion, bay leaf and parsley, and discard.

4. Remove the carrots and celery, cut into small pieces and return to the broth.

5. Remove the chicken from the bones, cut into chunks and return to the broth. Add the potatoes to the broth. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat gently, and serve hot in soup bowls.