The Soup Blog
Recipes, Culinary Insights & Humor Spooned Up Fresh Every Week…………………(Now in its Ice Cream Phase)
Chicken Soup for the Heart and the Stomach*
Categories: Dairy-free, Herbs, Pasta, Poultry

Do you feel clucky? Well, do ya, punk?

Yes, soup is easy and inexpensive to make.  Yes, soup can easily embrace the four food groups in one meal (or all the levels of the food pyramid, if you want to go all Egyptian).  Yes, soup can be a delicious platform to feature almost any ingredient you choose.  But my favorite thing about soup is that it always has a communal element to it.

It’s the great equalizer, feeding us all: from soup kitchen (coincidence? I think not) to suburbia to high society. Soup offers sustenance and, oftentimes, companionship as well.

Most soup recipes produce at least four servings (4-6 being pretty much the standard), a quantity which practically demands that you share it with someone else.

That’s what this blog is about too.

As people seek to define what’s important to them after the stock market “corrections”, the Wall Street bailouts, the housing market implosion, the radical downsizing of the workforce (that’s the one for me) or any combination of the above, I’ll be offering up a tureen of soup a week around which folks can gather to share a conversation. The dining room table has always been the greatest foundation  on which to build a community. All you have to do is open the door and invite people in.  Does this extend to the online community?

Well, it’s hard to pass a bowl of soup around the Internet, but sharing is at the heart of all social media.

So, this pot of soup is on me.

Like many people, my first experiences with soup were around a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, hence the recipe in this week’s posting.  I think I was around seven.  It took me many years to learn how to make that one myself. Why would I? My mom did it better than anyone in the world.  (To the other culinarily challenged people (males) out there:  You pour the soup into a pot, pour in an empty soup can full of water, heat and serve.)  Soup was an all season meal for us. Mostly on weekends. Just like today the heartier soups work better in colder weather while the lighter fresher ones work better when it’s warm.

A couple of techniques worth noting in this recipe include roasting the chicken and sautéing the vegetables before putting them into the stock pot.  This lets the ingredients maintain their integrity even as they come together to form a larger whole, another kind of culinary community.

Is this soup better than the soup that seven-year-old ate back in the last century?  I would say yes, but you’d have to ask him.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he told you he prefers his mom’s soup.  After all food not only fills our stomachs, it fills our hearts too.

So who’re you going to believe—a grown man or some punk kid?

Good answer.

Phillip Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup
(serves 4-6, go figure)
1 pound chicken (skinless thighs or breasts) , diced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
1 cup onions, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups chicken stock
¼ cup parsley
2 tablespoon thyme
4 ounces fettuccini
Salt & pepper, to taste

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper then roast in a 350°F oven until just firm (around 20 minutes).  Set aside to cool before cutting into small cubes (aka dicing).
  2. Heat olive oil in a 3-quart pot over medium heat, then add the carrots, celery and onions and sauté until tender (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  3. Return chicken to the pot, add stock, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  4. Break fettuccini into quarters (bite-sized pieces), add to soup, cover and simmer for about an hour.  The longer the better.
  5. Serve with salad and French bread, or, if you’d prefer, saltines.

(Disclosure:  I am not related to the Campbell’s brand in any way.  My middle name is Campbell, which makes me half Scottish and the target of endless grade school ribbing about Campbell’s Soup.  But that’s as far as it goes.)

* Note:  Somebody has already trademarked the soul.

Image Credit:  Caroline Andres, copyright 1997

Questions? Comments?  Put them all in the comments section. Please!  I meant to say please.

Leave a Comment to “Chicken Soup for the Heart and the Stomach*”

  1. Jame says:

    I remember that soup from my childhood, too… Tasty with lots of noodles, although the chicken seemed somewhat difficult to locate. Campbell’s tomato soup was my favorite – no problem finding the tomato.
    I appreciate your comments about soup’s communal nature. Soup is frequently what I make when I’m having people over for a meal. Simple to serve, typically enough left over to allow for seconds (and thirds), so easily “accessorized” with bread, cheeses, salad, etc., and xxx-xxx-good, as you stated, (I don’t know about trademark/copyright issues on blogs so I’m going with x’s here just in case). Filling but not too filling (unless you’re the one having thirds), soups also offer me infinite variety and the opportunity to stray from a recipe without disaster.
    Comforting, too, as you said. A bowl of soup not only warms you on a cold day but preparing it (from scratch) makes you feel like you used your day creatively…at least, it does me.
    By the way, do you have a tomato soup recipe (veg) that you’d recommend?

    • pcandres says:

      I do have a vegetarian tomato soup (several actually) I’ll send it to you. Until then: Carrot & fennel (veg) is up for next week. Thanks for reading.

  2. Janiemania says:

    This recipe looks great. We just had an earthquake in Illinois and my nerves are frazzled. I’d love a bowl of comfort soup right about now. Thanks for the blog.

    • pcandres says:

      One bowl of comfort soup coming up. Word of warning, though. You’ve got to worry about ruptured gas lines after an earthquake and cold soup in an Illinois February is not all that comforting. Thanks for reading.

  3. Jules says:

    Hey Phil! Love it! Can’t wait to read more!

    • pcandres says:

      More to come. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Mary Roach says:

    Loved this!- Quite funny! The chicken soup recipe is so “approachable” too. Thanks for that- I have a whole chicken in my fridge- just may decide to soup it up.

    GREAT idea for a blog- I’ll be waiting for the next post.

    • pcandres says:

      Good luck with the soup. Thanks for the comment

  5. Deb Barrett says:

    You made me smile with some warm memories. For me, it was Campbell’s Cream of Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch on a wintry school day. (We were able to go home for lunch in my grade school.)

    Your recipe is just a little different than mine – I make the stock from scratch too – but it looks delicious and easy to make!

    • pcandres says:

      We had Campbell’s Tomato too. Then we would crumble a ton of saltines into the mix to add something extra: texture? flavor? chaos? who knows. I’ll get to the stock question later in the blog, homemade is the best option but not always the easiest. Thanks for the comment

  6. Aaron Fisher says:

    My pastime as a seven year old was to eat the soup right out of the can…Campbell’s Tomato & Rice is the best! My willpower is being tested.

    Look forward to the next posting, Phil!

    • pcandres says:

      Thanks Aaron. I’ll get some fresh virtual soup out to you right away.

  7. Anne and Patti and Scout says:

    Hey, we are on the road, three girls travelling together, so we like the possibility of being in a community without being IN the community. Thanks for the recipe too.

    • pcandres says:

      A community of three sounds pretty good. Have a nice trip. Thanks for the comment.

  8. Mom says:

    I loved everything about your blog but what do I know, I’m your Mom (spelled with a capital M you’ll note).

    • pcandres says:

      You know you’ll never eat this soup. I guess I’d better work in a veg. recipe next week. Thanks for fulfilling your maternal obligation by reading this thing.

  9. We prepared the soup on Valentine’s Day for Grandma Val’s visit. Wyatt, our self-guided mostly vegetarian wished out loud that we could eat it every night and Grandma was over the moon.

    Mmmmm good.

    • pcandres says:

      I am so glad. I have to admit I’ve been nervous ever since Caroline told me you had left a message the other day. Thanks for the good news. Come back and try some more. Read the blog. Stay a while.

  10. I love soups in the winter months here in the Rockies and I’m looking forward to more recipes (and wit!) Any chance you have a recipe for ‘tater soup?

    By the way, I’m under no obligation such as your mom’s! I just REALLY enjoy your writing. Sorry, didn’t mean to yell.


    • pcandres says:

      I’ve got a sweet potato (& cilantro) soup I made over Christmas. I’ve also got a great potato and chicken stew I just made. I’ll put ‘tater on the calendar, though. Who knows where it’ll lead? Thanks for the kind words. Thanks for reading too. I guess blood is thicker than water, just not thicker than a good soup.