May 2, 2013

Chicken and Dill Soup with Homemade Broth

Mystery solved. There are two elements required to make the perfect bowl of chicken soup: lots of fresh dill and a homemade broth. Fresh dill is, for lack of a better word, amazing. It literally transforms this chicken soup in to a noteworthy experience. Each slurp fills your mouth with a fresh burst of dill followed by silky and savory hot broth. There are a few tricks to making a great broth, which I will share with you here. What it boils down to (no pun intended) is patience and a little love.

This soup is worth it.

Tips to making the perfect homemade chicken broth:

Tip #1: collect the ends of carrots, celery, fennel, and/or other root vegetables throughout the week, and save them in a large Ziploc bag in the freezer until the bag is full. the more veggies the more flavorful your broth will be. Fennel is a must.

Tip#2: Save the carcass of rotisserie chickens or chicken "scraps" in the same manner. I like to have at least two chickens worth in the freezer before I make broth. Some recipes suggest roasting chicken before making broth which is why I save rotisserie chicken scraps. Roasting the bird really does give the final product a more refined and smoky taste. Waste not, want not.

Tip#3: For a clear broth, peel the onion. For a deeper color, keep the peel on. I always keep the peel on.

Tip#4: Always simmer, never boil. Boiling makes for a cloudy broth.

Tip #5: Following these tips without the chicken also makes the perfect vegetable broth.

Chicken and Dill Soup with Homemade Broth


For Broth:
  • 1-2 chicken carcasses
  • 5 quarts water
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 large fresh Italian parsley sprigs
  • 4 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Frozen vegetable scraps, to include at least:
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • The scraps from one fennel
For the soup:
  • 1 3 ¼ pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 cup onion, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups peeled carrot, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • ½ lb mixed fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill, chopped
  1. Place both carcasses, 5 quarts water, halved onion, 2 whole garlic cloves, reserved frozen vegetables, 2 bay leaves, parsley sprigs, and thyme sprigs in 8-to10-quart pot. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat. Simmer 1 1/4 hours.
  2. Strain broth; return to pot and simmer until reduced to 7 cups. Turn down heat to low. Add chicken breasts; poach until cooked through. Remove chicken from broth and allow cooling; straining broth and setting aside. Shred chicken breast; reserve on side.
  3. Heat oil in another large pot over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion, sliced garlic, and 2 bay leaves; sauté 2 minutes. Add sliced carrots, celery, mushrooms, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and 7 cups broth; bring to a high simmer. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add shredded chicken; season with more salt and pepper. Garnish with a lot of fresh chopped dill.


  1. That's how I do my broth too - veggie left overs are the best! I also add jalapeno. Mmmm!

    1. Oh, jalapeno sounds amazing. I save everything...the ends of mushrooms, brussels, cabbage, etc. Why throw it away when you can build a compost pile or making a delicious chicken soup! lol

  2. I do agree that broth is the key for great soups, also some herbs. I have dill in my garden, therefore this lovely soup is going on my table for this weekend.

    1. Awesome! Fresh dill from the garden just transforms food, don't you think? Have a great day :)

  3. I could eat a whole big bowl of this healthy and beautiful soup. I don't know if it's allergies or a spring cold... but I have had a scratchy throat for days now... drinking warm liquids is the only thing that helps. This soup is fantastic. I love the addition of dill. :)

    1. Same here, Ramona! All I want is warm soup to cure these horrible allergies. Feel better soon :)

  4. What a beautiful bowl of soup this is! I have never even thought about adding dill to mine!

    1. Dill is just amazing in this soup. I can't wait to hear if you like it!


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