Make this Basic Chicken and Vegetable Soup in no time. It’s so easy and also tastes better than any readymade soup from a restaurant. All you need is one chicken, carrots, zucchini, potatoes and seasonings. When the soup is done, you won’t have to cook for the next three days.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Makes: 6 to 8 servings


1 whole chicken (about 2-1/2 to 3 pounds), skin removed
3 bay leaves
1 brown or white onion, peeled and halved
4 zucchini, tips discarded
4 medium carrots, peeled with tips discarded
4 medium potatoes (any variety)
1 chicken bouillon cube
Salt (to taste)

1. Place chicken, bay leaves and onion in an 8-quart saucepot. Cover chicken completely with cold water.

2. Set sauce pot with chicken and water, covered, on a stove burner and bring to boil.

3. Meanwhile, cut the zucchini into 1-inch circles and transfer them to a 6-quart bowl filled with cold water.

4. Cut the carrots into 1-inch pieces and transfer them to the bowl with zucchini.

5. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch chunks. Transfer potatoes to the bowl with zucchini and carrots; set aside.

6. When chicken soup boils, remove cover and add bouillon cube.

7. Cook on medium-high for about 45 minutes to one hour or until chicken is done.

8. After 45 minutes, test doneness of chicken by cutting into the thickest part of the breast meat with a fork and knife.

9. If the meat is completely white, it is done. If it is still pink, cook chicken 10 to 15 minutes longer.

10. When chicken is done, using thongs and an extra large fork or spoon, transfer the chicken to a large glass or porcelain bowl or platter. Set aside to cool.

11. Meanwhile, strain the broth into an 8-quart bowl. Return the broth to the sauce pot.

12. Bring the broth to a boil. When broth boils, add the zucchini, carrot and potato chunks.

13. Boil for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are crunchy-tender (test by inserting a fork in potato). If needed, cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

14. Meanwhile, as soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones. Discard the bones.

15. Tear the chicken into bite-size pieces.

16. Add the chicken pieces to the soup and heat through.

17. Taste the soup and, if needed, adjust the salt level. Serve immediately with fresh bread.

Text and Photograph ©2014 Nancy DeLucia Real