February 25, 2016

Chicken Soup for the Hurried

If I made a resolution for the new year—which I did, vaguely— it involved both being in less of a hurry, and less prone to dawdling. The complete opposite of each other, but relating to the same question: where did the time go? I’m looking at you, Instagram and Election 2016… 

In winter, this happens: I Pin a big-pot, long-simmering stew with lots of ingredients I’ll think I have a ton of time to gather only to eschew it last minute for something more shoot-from-the-hip after I didn’t start it three hours beforehand…

When is the best time to make soup? How about when you want it. 

Little did I know, a shortcut chicken soup could exist. And not the kind you open from a can. The kind that’s made similarly to my lazy roast carrot soup (, but doesn’t even involve roasting. The secret is boneless skinless chicken thighs, which can withstand a little simmer nicely, and chicken stock or chicken-veggie stock, that you already have on hand.

Every few weeks I make a broth from vegetable scraps (cleaned leek, scallion and fennel tops, carrot tippy tops, broccoli stems) and some bones from cooked chicken (thighs or breast). I keep the bones and scraps in a large zip-top bag in the freezer for a few weeks and then dump the contents in a pot one day with water and any aromatics and a few hours later, strain the broth. This means homemade soup is one step closer. I keep the broth in the freezer or fridge. That just makes this soup one step closer, but by all means, store-bought is fine.

In my mind, everyone should be able to make a chicken soup without resorting to a can but not having to break down a whole bird for it. Although it involves a bit of initial chopping and mise-en-place, once that’s done and you turn on the burner you’ll only have about 25 minutes active time until you’ll be sitting down to some soup.

Now that’s something I can get behind on a cold day. The recipe I was inspired by had you cook some orzo right into the simmering broth. But I opted to spoon some rice I cooked separately, into bowls with the soup for a classic chicken and rice soup kissed with lemon and aromatics.

I’m still actively committed to being less hurried this year. Let’s practice while we slowly slurp some soup.

Quick Chicken Soup

inspired by DamnDelicious


  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sea Salt + pepper
  • 4 ounces boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 small leek white, sliced thin
  • 1 small or 1/2 a medium onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth or chicken-vegetable broth (I used homemade)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon, or about 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Heaped Tbsp chopped parsley
  • To serve: Cooked rice


Season chopped chicken with a good pinch salt and pepper. Heat a dutch oven or stockpot over medium high and add oil. Once hot, add chicken and saute 3-4 minutes until lightly browned.

Remove from the pot aside to a bowl.

Add another splash of oil, then add diced carrots, leek and onion, a pinch of salt and sautee 3-4 minutes until browning and softening. Stir in garlic, thyme and oregano and sautee one more minute until fragrant.

Whisk in chicken broth, water and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Stir in browned chicken and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 10-12 minutes until everything is tender. Stir in lemon juice, parsley and a pinch more salt and pepper if needed.

To serve: Ladle cooked rice into bowls and top with soup, squeezing more lemon and parsley if desired.

Meredith - soup

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