Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chicken Soup with Meatballs and Farro




I have never made homemade chicken soup in my life. But today, I woke up with a cold and figured I'd give it a try. I wanted a really hearty and filling soup that would provide multiple meals. My mom and grandma have always made chicken soup with tiny meatballs, and since meatballs really improve everything, I knew I needed to add some. So I called my mom for some chicken soup advice and she recommended I find a stewing chicken instead of a roasting chicken. Apparently stewing chickens are smaller and have more fat, which makes for a more flavorful soup. She also recommended I puree the aromatic veggies to give it a nice yellow color.

It's traditional to add noodles or pasta to chicken soup, but I find that pasta in soup just doesn't last well. It starts to get really soggy and disintegrate after the first day, and since I knew this soup would make ample leftovers, I wanted something a little tougher. I used farro because it stands up well in soup and is packed with filling fiber. I also added kale to squeeze in some leafy greens.

So how did it turn out? I now know why people go to the trouble of making homemade chicken soup instead of just buying it. It was so good, and warming and comforting. The perfect thing for a cold, rainy day. The hot soup with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes helped to clear up my congestion right away.

Read more for the full recipe!


Chicken Soup Tips:
1. Always add COLD water
2. Do not boil the chicken, this will result in tough meat, instead simmer on low heat
3. Find a stewing chicken, not a roasting chicken
4. Pureed veggies thicken the soup and add complexity to the broth
5. Skim fat globules off the top or sift through a cheesecloth as the soup cooks
6. Cool soup completely before refrigerating or freezing
7. Use fresh herbs, if possible to add flavor

Ingredients:
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 medium  yellow onions, chopped into chunks
2 medium leeks, greens discarded, chopped into chunks
4 ribs of celery, washed and cut into chunks
4 whole carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 4-5lb stewing chicken, innards removed and rinsed
3 sprigs of rosemary, rinsed
4 sprigs of thyme, rinsed
12 cups of cold water
1.5 cups of dry farro
4 cup green kale, washed, stems removed and chopped into 1" ribbons
1 tsp red pepper flakes
12 mini meatballs (golf ball sized)


Step by Step Instructions:
1. Add garlic, onions, leeks, celery and carrot to a large pot
2. Nestle the whole chicken in and arrange the veggies around it
3. Pour 12 cups of cold water on the chicken and veggies
4. Add whole sprigs of rosemary and thyme
5. Cover and bring to a boil
6. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 90 minutes (chicken should be falling apart)
7. Remove chicken carcass (and pieces) from the pot and put in a colander
8. Remove sprigs from broth (leaves will have fallen off)
9. Using a slotted spoon, remove the veggies and set aside to cool
10. Carefully pull chicken meat off the carcass, break into smaller pieces if necessary and add to the pot
11. Discard chicken bones
12. In a food processor, puree veggies and return to the pot
13. Add farro, cover and bring to a boil
14. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer 30 minutes, until farro is cooked
15. Add meatballs, kale and red pepper
16. Simmer another 10 minutes
17. Serve!


What are your chicken soup tips? Any family secrets or interesting variations? Tell me in the comments!!!


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14 Comments:

At March 25, 2012 at 11:11 PM , Blogger Pola M said...

Looks delicious! I also had a little epiphany when I had homemade chicken broth for the first time. the flavor is not even comparable to store bought stuff!

 
At March 26, 2012 at 10:14 AM , OpenID yummychunklet said...

I thought I made a great chicken soup, but this recipe completely outdoes mine! It looks great, and I can't wait to make it myself.

 
At March 26, 2012 at 11:23 AM , Blogger Baker Street said...

Meatballs and farro!!! Holy yum! This may be the best chicken soup recipe that exists. :)

 
At March 26, 2012 at 5:23 PM , OpenID bananamondaes said...

This soup looks seriously delicious. I grew up on my mum's chicken soup- but she always cooked it with bones in! I need a new chicken soup recipe and this looks perfect!!

 
At March 26, 2012 at 7:48 PM , OpenID Colleen said...

Yum, I love farro. I made a chicken soup this winter with some ginger and star anise cooked in the broth, and then some udon noodles added to the final soup. It was delicious!

 
At March 26, 2012 at 8:31 PM , Blogger Jenn Kendall said...

wow- farro, meatballs and kale all in one soup! this looks so awesome! i am definitely bookmarking this for the next time someone in the house gets sick!

 
At March 27, 2012 at 4:15 PM , Blogger Tina said...

My this does make the last bowl of chicken soup seem pretty boring. You have packed in some wonderful extras here-yum! I especially like the addition of the meatballs and kale. This one is packed with a lot of healthy nutrients-well done! Saving this one.

 
At March 27, 2012 at 4:29 PM , OpenID gobakeyourself said...

Hope you are feeling better my friend! My brother is a little off so I do believe this dish could be exactly what he needs :D
Thank you!

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

 
At March 27, 2012 at 5:34 PM , Blogger Shelley said...

Hey! I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award! You can check out my post about it on my blog: www.piggyinpolkadots.blogspot.com

 
At March 27, 2012 at 6:14 PM , Blogger lacyd said...

This looks like the best chicken soup I've ever seen! I love the little meatballs and that you pureed the aromatics, truly sounds amazing! The kale and farro - everything sounds just fantastic!!
-Lacy @ NYCityEats.com

 
At March 28, 2012 at 7:25 PM , Blogger Kim Bee said...

This turned out great. My hubs always uses my leftover chicken for soup. It's the one thing he cooks. Well that and boxed mac n cheese. Pancakes from a mix occasionally. Lol. Anyhow this looks wonderful and you nailed this.

 
At March 28, 2012 at 8:15 PM , Blogger Pola M said...

Hi Dara! Something for you is waiting on my blog http://www.italianinthemidwest.com/2012/03/burger-bun.html

 
At March 29, 2012 at 2:28 PM , Blogger Katherine said...

Meatballs really do improve everything!! This soup looks phenomenal! Amazing job on your first homemade chicken soup :-) Hope you feel better!

 
At April 2, 2012 at 2:35 AM , Blogger M. Foley said...

I recently made something similar with a recipe from Fine Cooking with thai chillis, baby bok choy, and shitake mushrooms. It was the first time I'd made soup using a whole chicken too, and I'm hooked! I can't wait to try your recipe with faro and meatballs. One of Fine Cooking's tips was to remove the skin from the chicken before putting it in the pot, I tried it and will do it again. It really cut down on the fat I had to skim off and it made it super easy to take the meat off the carcass once the chicken was cooked.

 

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