Nonna’s chicken soup

Nonna’s chicken soup

Dean Cambray

This is another dish that takes me right back to my early childhood. When we visited my nonna, she nearly always had a big pot of chicken soup on the stove and the wonderful aroma would fill the house.

Nonna’s soup is very easy to make, and is great to freeze for cold winter nights. When I make it I usually throw in a couple of wings and thighs, as well as the chicken carcasses. It’s amazing how much meat you’ll get. Feel free to use different vegies (I sometimes add a handful of spinach, or silverbeet from the garden), and add your choice of rice, vermicelli noodles, or alphabet pasta for the kids. When we make this soup at the restaurant we throw in off-cuts of fresh pasta. And please don’t stress out too much about chilling the stock and skimming away every skerrick of fat. As far as I’m concerned it all adds to the flavour.


Quantity Ingredient
1 1/2kg chicken carcasses, plus a couple of wings and thighs
2 large carrots, cut into large chunks
3 sticks celery, cut into large chunks
2 tomatoes, halved
2 large onions, halved
10 garlic cloves, halved
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
5 stalks parsley
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta, (optional)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
freshly grated parmesan, to serve


  1. Put the chicken carcasses into a large stock pot and pour on enough water to cover. Bring to the boil slowly, skimming away any froth or scum that rises to the surface. Add the vegetables, garlic, herbs and seasonings, and bring back to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 1–1½ hours, skimming frequently.
  2. Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Tip the chicken bones and vegetables out onto a tray and leave to cool. When cool enough to handle, pick off the chicken meat, discarding the skin and bones. Chop the meat and vegetables into small pieces. Add them to the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, and add the cooked rice or pasta, if using.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, lemon juice and parsley, and season lightly. Tip into the simmering soup and whisk gently with a fork. As it cooks, the whisked egg forms long ‘rags’. Once they rise to the surface, remove the pan from the heat. Serve straight away with freshly grated parmesan and warm crusty bread.
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