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Chicken Vegetable Soup with Quinoa

January 30, 2014

We plan and God laughs. That appears to be somewhat of a running theme in my life.

I just returned from an amazing research symposium where I was asked to give a talk kicking off the conference. A humanistic focus to help the physicians and researchers remember why it is they do what they do. Given my, ahem, illustrious history, I was thrilled to oblige. The feedback was amazing. One of those times when you know you’re in the right place at the right time.

I had wanted to  post a terrific Breakfast Biscotti that I discovered on a wonderful new food blog as soon as I returned. That’s coming very soon because of the ‘we plan and God laughs’ part. It had to wait. Mixed in with all the wonderful praise that came my way was a nasty (sorry, you are nasty) little bug which wasted no time in making his way to my lungs and boom! I have myself a case of bronchitis. My sister Annie immediately appeared on my doorstep with a container of Jewish penicillin AKA chicken soup which disappeared in no time.

I rummaged through my fridge and freezer. I had some chicken pieces, which was immediately pulled out to defrost.

cleaned chicken

Once the chicken was defrosted, I  pulled out some basic soup vegetables I always have on hand, plus lots of ginger and garlic because they help me feel better. I grabbed some fresh herbs, in this case dill and parsley, tied them together with a bit of kitchen twine, and plopped it in to my stock pot with lots of cool water (room temp or cool water makes for a more flavorful soup -just ask my mom). Why twine? The easier to fish it out at the end, my pretty.

soup basics

After the chicken cooked through, I removed it from the pot and placed it in a bowl along with some broth. That prevents the chicken from getting overly cooked and sitting in the broth keeps it moist. Later, when it cools, I pull the chicken off the bones with my fingers, keeping the drumsticks whole, and reserve the bones with bits of chicken still on them for a little private snack, usually eaten then and there, while standing at counter. (Thank you Julia Child, for stating this on public television, thus giving us your stamp of approval.) When the soup is all finished, I returned the chicken to the pot.

Before I add the bite-sized veggies, I remove the parsnip, celery heart, ginger, quartered onion (some people leave that in; since I was adding some more chopped onion, I took them out) and herbs.

What vegetables did I find to add? I had some green beans and zucchini. I wanted a little more, carrots, celery and onion. I also had some cut-up cauliflower that I was going to roast for Popcorn Cauliflower. Sometimes I save the core and the leaves for soup stock. I did, so I had thrown that  into the stock earlier along with the chicken. Veggie possibilities? My oh my! Cubed potatoes, yams, chard, kale, turnip, rutabaga, fennel, leeks.  The list is endless on what veggies to add. Just add the quicker ones in the last ten minutes. Things like shredded cabbage, or peas, or spinach.

veggies for soupIf you cut up more than you need. No es una problema. Save it for a quick stir-fry the next day.

seasoningsThe seasonings are very simple. Salt, pepper and turmeric. Why turmeric? It adds a nice golden color to the broth and it’s good for you. Trust me.

cooking the veggies in the brothThis was very fortifying to stand over and inhale. Excellent for clearing the sinuses. A culinary humidifier, if you will. Also very nice to look at.

I hadn’t used quinoa in soup before. I wanted to make the soup a little heartier but wanted  something that wouldn’t feel too heavy after I ate it. The quinoa was perfect. Reminiscent of the pastina (teeny pasta) I ate in chicken soup as a little girl, but it provided the extra protein I wanted and added a wholesome and earthy feel to the soup.

quinoaThrow in the quinoa and give it a good stir, stirring it up from the bottom every so often. In ten to fifteen minutes, soup’s ready!

add quinoa to soupWe’re making a sopa de quinoa!

soup with quinoaNovio! Hurry up before I eat it all!

soup's readyChicken soup for body and soul

Lulu called just as I was finishing my soup. Nothing like hearing Lulu’s voice to boost my spirits. We talked and laughed for a while. Then I went to ladle out another bowlful of soup…

Puhlkeh from soup… with one more thing… a pulkeh (PULL- keh or PULL- kee… Yiddish for chicken leg or drumstick)

I love pulkees.

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Quinoa


10 c. water
1 1/2-3 lb. chicken pieces, skin removed
2 medium onions, quartered
4 cloves garlic
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
2 carrots, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, cut in chunks (or use the celery heat with the leaves intact)
1 parsnip, cut in half
1/2 bunch dill
1 small bunch parsley (Italian or otherwise)
4 c. vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces (zucchini, onion, green beans. carrots, celery, cauliflower)
3/4 c. quinoa
1 t. turmeric
salt & pepper


Place cleaned chicken in stock pot and pour cold water over. Add quartered onion, halved parsnip, celery, carrot chunks, split garlic cloves and knob of ginger. Tie fresh herbs into a bundle with kitchen twine and add to soup, leaves dipping into water. Bring up to boil and then down to a very gentle simmer. You want to see just a few bubbles coming up. Cook, uncovered, for about 40 minutes or until chicken pieces are fully cooked through.

Remove chicken to bowl and pour a little broth over it to stay moist. Set aside.

Add vegetables and salt, pepper and turmeric.  Cook for 30 minutes more. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add quinoa and stir through every few minutes to prevent quinoa from sticking to the bottom.

Using your fingers, pull chicken off bones and pull to bite-sized pieces. Remove any skin that might still be hanging around. Return chicken pieces to soup with the broth. Check seasonings.

When reheating, add a bit more water or broth if you like.

Serves about 8. In this house, 6-8 is more like it. Freezes well.

Chickveggie soupI shot this image to show you the delicious quinoa. Don’t worry. I’ll go add more broth now. And grab a spoon.


From → Poultry, Soup, Veggies

  1. Jean Katz permalink

    Hi Judy, I just cooked the same soup yesterday without the quinoa and turmeric. They will definitely go in next time, along with the extra veggies you added later. I hope your cold disappears faster than mine. My doctor told me to expect three weeks for this laryngitis virus that is circulating.
    I’m delighted to find a new variation on good old chicken soup.
    Love, Jean

  2. hsimpsongrossman permalink

    What do I write first?!
    So many things are going through my head!
    First, Refua Shelema!
    Secondly, you won’t believe it, but we discussed preserving the taste and of chicken cooked in chicken soup in our Kosher Food Forum yesterday, and I too take the chicken out at some point.
    We also discussed munching on chicken bones on Wednesday.. When oh when will you finish working on your Hebrew and join our Forum??????
    Thirdly, green beans in chicken soup- must try! The same goes for quinoa!
    And lastly, have you ever tried adding oats to soup? very light and comforting.
    Shabbat Shalom to you and Novio.

  3. Lulu permalink

    Hope you are feeling better Jujubelle ….and thanks for that shout out…it was wonderful to hear your voice, even slightly congested as it was….your soup looks so yummy, must try that out…btw, is quinoa kosher for Passover? You are , after all, the great and powerful oz of the kitchen realm…:)

  4. Rita Reuben permalink

    BRAVO, JUDY! still would love to chat with you….. Hugs, Rita

  5. Elizabeth permalink

    I just cooked a soup like this that I found on, I cant wait to try this recipe! I am always looking for a new and delicious soup!

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