Classic chicken soup is ubiquitous across the globe. Fresh ingredients, good technique and authentic Middle Eastern couscous guarantee full, warm bellies every time.

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 180 min

Total time: 200 min

Real Chicken Soup
Copyright Recipe © 2014 Woodland Foods


Serves 8-10


  1. Remove the giblets from the chicken cavity. Discard the liver, kidneys and heart but keep the neck. Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water and place it and the neck in a pot that is double its size. Rinse the celery and carrots and cut them into 4 or 5 chunks. Peel the onion and stick the clove into it. Use a piece of kitchen string to wrap the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf together.

  2. Add all of this to the pot along with a heaping teaspoon of kosher salt and cover the chicken with cold water to double its volume.

  3. Place the pot over low heat and cover.

  4. When the water comes to a simmer remove the cover and skim the surface to remove and discard the scum. Keep the heat on a low simmer, repeat skimming when needed and try to avoid removing the oil that settles around the chicken, this is good fat to keep.

  5. When the stock darkens a bit to an amber color the chicken can be checked for doneness. Remove the bird and use a fork to pull on the breast and leg meat. If there is any pink return the chicken to the pot and continue cooking until the meat pulls away easily without color.

  6. At this point the stock can be strained and returned to a simmer. Collect the vegetables and set aside to cool. Discard the neck, herbs and the clove.

  7. When the chicken is cool pull the meat off by hand or with a fork. Shred the meat to desired size and set aside.

  8. Bring the stock to boil and add 1 teaspoon each of kosher salt and ground black pepper. Add the Middle Eastern couscous and reduce the heat back to a simmer.

  9. After 5 minutes add the chicken pieces. Cut the cooled carrots and celery into desired bite size chunks and add them to the pot along with the chopped spinach.

  10. After 5 minutes more the couscous should be tender but continue simmering until the preferred chew is achieved.

  11. Serve large portions in bowls and garnish with fresh lemon and ground black pepper.