It took me several years to develop a chicken soup that I liked. The trouble turned out to not so much be the technique or the ingredients but our water.
See, here in Central Texas we have very hard water that imparts a funny taste to soup broth.
I address that problem by purchasing spring water. What a difference! The rest of the ingredients are traditional, although we do try to go as organic as is possible.
1 whole organic fryer chicken
1.5 cups diced onion, celery and carrot
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jug spring water (optional)
Black pepper and sea salt
Spray bottom of a large pot with olive oil. Add veggies, garlic and bay leaves. Sauté until the onion begins to turn lucid. Add enough spring water to fill the pan halfway. Add whole chicken. Sprinkle with black pepper. Add more water until chicken is covered. Bring to gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium low and partially cover with lid. Cook until chicken meat falls apart from bone, typically about 1.5 hours. Remove chicken into a large bowl and reduce the burner to low. Allow chicken to cool a few minutes as it will be very hot. Carefully remove the meat, discarding fat, skin and bones. Dice meat and return to pot, adding salt to taste. Allow soup to simmer, skimming the top to remove any solids that form. Serve hot.
This freezes beautifully, so if you wish to make a large batch and put aside some for later… go for it!
(For awhile I had a photo up and link to a classic Gary Larson cartoon–a personal favorite–about chicken soup, but I pulled it to protect copyright. Do yourself a favor though and see if you can find it in one of his old books. It’s precious.)