The world’s easiest homemade peasant chicken soup!
When I was a poor, frazzled college student living on fast food and Lean Cuisines, I had a standing Thursday-TV-and-dinner night with a couple of friends. We’d get together once a week, watch the NBC comedy block over takeout, and decompress from all the stresses of college life. One of those cold, Eureka evenings, that week’s host suggested we try our hand at cooking our dinner instead of ordering it and showed us a peasant chicken soup recipe she had printed out from the internet.
At the time, I thought that good from-scratch soup required long hours on the stove and complicated ingredient lists. This recipe only cooked for 20 minutes! It had one spice! It had to be too simple to be any good. I wasn’t very enthusiastic, but we eventually agreed to try to make the soup, and if it wasn’t delicious, we’d order a pizza.
We made the soup. We did not order pizza.
The soup turned out to be light and full of flavor, the simplicity of the ingredients letting the taste of the garlic and chicken really come through. I happily admitted my mistake whilst scarfing down a bowl of the stuff.
Years later, I’ve lost touch with these friends. None of those NBC shows are still on the air. But I still make our soup. Like me, the recipe has changed a bit, but not too much. I make it often during this time of year and every time I do, it reminds me of rainy Pacific Northwest evenings, a time when NBC’s lineup was must-see TV, and cooking with people who made me so happy.
This recipe is quick, easy, and delicious. It’s simple enough to whip up for lunch, but the potatoes give it bulk so it’s a great, healthy option for a busy weeknight. I usually serve it with a slice of warm french bread or my favorite cheddar scones.
- 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cubed (about 1 pound)
- 1 small onion
- 4 medium red potatoes, cubed
- 4 medium carrots, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- On medium-high heat, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray or a little bit of oil. Salt and pepper chicken and cook until browned.
- Add the rest of your ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Lower to medium heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender. Remove the bay leaf, serve, and enjoy!
This could easily be made with rotisserie or pre-cooked, shredded chicken. In that case, I would add the meat in the last five minutes of cooking time.
If you don't mind the texture of frozen potatoes, this soup freezes well in individual servings for a ready-made meal. Just pour it into freezer bags and freeze flat on a cookie tray. When soup is frozen, stack! Just be sure to defrost it in the refrigerator. The potatoes will turn to complete mush if you defrost in the microwave!
Recipe adapted from: Taste of Home