I usually make this soup after I have made my roast chicken. I use the bones from the chicken to make the stock and any leftover meat goes into the soup. You can also make this using just chicken stock or even poaching some pieces of chicken in water which will make both the stock and the meat. You can use bone-in chicken or boneless. It's really up to you how you want to do it and how much time you have as using bone-in will take a bit longer. The below recipe is how I make it using the leftover bones. Each time I make this, it's a different sized batch depending on how many I am feeding and if I want any leftovers to freeze. This particular one was made in an 8 qt. pot so it was a big batch. If you want to make a smaller batch, just cut back on the amount of water or stock. For example, if you use a 6 qt. pot, use only about 4 qts of water/stock. You can still use the same amount of veggies or cut back, whatever you prefer. And because I make this after my roast chicken dinner, I always have the secret ingredient available that adds a nice richness to the soup. YUM!
Leftover chicken bones from a roasted chicken
Leftover chicken meat
About 6 qts. of water
8-10 large carrots, peeled and chopped
8-10 celery stalks including the leafy tops, chopped
2 large onions, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning or you can use a fresh bouquet of poultry herbs found in your produce section
Coarse sea salt/ground black pepper
1/2 cup leftover gravy- MY SECRET INGREDIENT!
*Rice or noodles
Grated parmesan or romano cheese
Crushed hot red pepper flakes (optional)
Fill the 8 qt soup pot with 6 qts of water, add the bones and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium low, cover, and let simmer for about 30-40 minutes. After it's done, drain into a large bowl, removing bones, fat, and any other debri and return stock to pot. Let bones cool and if there is any edible meat left, add to the stock. Next, add all of the veggies, meat, bay leaf, seasonings, salt/pepper, and gravy. Cover and cook on medium for about 45 minutes or until veggies are semi-soft.
*I ususally use brown rice but you can use any kind of rice you like or any type of noodle. For this batch I cooked about 3 cups of rice but you can use more or less depending on how much rice you like in your soup. I don't add it directly to the soup because it bloats and will thicken it up too much. I just add the rice to the individual servings. If you are using noodles, those can be added directly into the soup. And again, use as little or as much as you like. I think about one box of pasta or one bag of egg noodles would be more than enough for the 6 qts of soup. If you only made 4 qts, maybe use half the box or bag.
Serve topped with grated cheese and crushed hot red pepper, if you like.