Mad Basic Chicken Soup

Oxmoor House
Mad Basic Chicken SoupRecipe
Photo: Oxmoor House


The process is called sweating because just enough heat is applied to soften and subsequently extract the moisture from the thing(s) being cooked. In this case, it's the vegetables. Sweating is a celebrated culinary technique for layering flavor into stews, soups, sauces, and braised dishes. Layering the chicken on top is an exercise in culinary discipline. The thighs are a timer of sorts: When they're cooked through, the vegetables are sweated to perfection.
Serves 6 (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)


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1 1/2 cups diced onion
2/3 cup diced carrot
2/3 cup diced celery
2/3 cup diced chayote
1/4 cup diced fennel bulb
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
5 garlic cloves, sliced
8 bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Angostura bitters


Hands-on: 35 Minutes
Total: 2 Hours, 40 Minutes

In a large stainless steel bowl, combine all of the vegetables, the olive oil, the sugar, and the garlic. Toss to combine.

Place a heavy-bottomed soup pot over very low heat.


Lay the vegetables in an even layer in the pot. Evenly layer the chicken thighs over the vegetables, overlapping slightly if necessary.

Cover with a parchment lid (see below) and sweat for about an hour. Parchment lids help to retain just enough moisture in foods you're sweating or stove-top quick-braising. Plus, making one in front of guests Serves as a cool party trick.

The vegetables should be tender and almost translucent. If you've done this perfectly, some liquid will have rendered into the pan, and you'll have a juicy base on which to build the soup.


Add the water and stock, and simmer for another hour.

Using tongs, remove the chicken thighs to a cutting board and let them cool until you can safely handle. Remove and discard the bones, shred the meat by hand, and return the chicken to the pot.

Finish with salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and bitters. This soup base is perfect for freezing and subsequent "doctoring."

Step by Step: Making a Parchment Lid 1) Pull out a sheet of parchment paper a little wider than the container you're "lidding." 2) Fold the paper in half... 3) ...and again. 4) Fold across as to mock a paper airplane, being mindful to align the folded edges. 5) Fold the parchment over and over, until it becomes diffcult to create a seam. 6) Snip off the tip. This creates a little steam hole so the lid won't blow off a simmering pot. 7) Place the tip of the lid at the center point of the pot, then trim the far end so the lid will fit the pot exactly. 8) Unfold your lid. You'll know you folded it the wrong way if it ends up as two halves. 9) Place the lid in contact with the food you're cooking.

Mexican variation:

In a bowl, stir together 1 cup ripe, charred, and coarsely chopped tomato, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1 charred and minced jalapeo, the juice and zest of 1 lime, and 1 diced avocado. Dollop this into bowls of the soup.

Calories 257; FAT 13.2g (sat 2.3g); sodium 569mg

Basque-inspired variation:

Add a generous pinch of saffron to the soup while it simmers. Finish with 1 cup peeled, diced, ripe tomato and 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Calories 202; FAT 8.3g (sat 1.6g); sodium 567mg

Created date

September 2014

Nutritional Information

Calories 261
Fat 10.3 g
Satfat 1.8 g
Monofat 4.6 g
Polyfat 2.7 g
Protein 29 g
Carbohydrate 12 g
Fiber 3 g
Cholesterol 115 mg
Iron 2 mg
Sodium 554 mg
Calcium 56 mg