Healthy Eating Recipes

Rustic Chicken Soup

The past couple of weeks really have been a soup filled fortnight in this frugal household. We have had three different types of soup and it is my honest opinion that the best has been saved for last. It has to be said that this soup, or broth, really benefits from the use of homemade chicken stock as it doesn’t have the rather salty taste that plagues shop bought stocks. This really allows one to control the seasoning of one’s dish, as one expects to be able to do. Indeed, so besotted have I become with the art of stock making that I think I shall soon post more recipes.

This soup is ninety-five percent my own recipe, however, there was one piece of advice I couldn’t help but heed; the inclusion of a single rasher of smoked bacon. Supposedly this tip comes from the soup making genius that is the mother of Jamie Oliver – mothers know best, I suppose. In fact, notwithstanding recent high levels of sarcasm, mothers clearly do know best as the single rasher of bacon really brings this dish alive, giving it a depth of flavour it would otherwise have lacked. It really is rather annoying that the one part of the recipe that was picked up from elsewhere really defines a dish which is supposed to be my own.

As one might expect this soup is incredibly versatile as the prefix of ‘rustic’ may suggest. At the time of cooking the only available vegetables were potatoes and carrots, so they were used. I suppose cabbage would also work rather well, not that I like cabbage in the least bit. So don’t feel bound if you have no carrots or potatoes to hand, let your imagination run wild – though not too wild, we don’t want a silly soup. One may also skip the homemade stock if one wishes, although this is not advised. If this is the case simply replace it according to guidance on the stock box.

Chicken Soup

Serves 4


• 1 litre of chicken stock, preferably homemade

• Any leftover scraps of chicken

• 1 rasher of smoked bacon, roughly sliced

• 300g of one’s chosen vegetables, I used potatoes and carrots

• 100g pearl barley, prepared according to packet instructions

• A handful of red split lentils

• Olive oil

• Seasoning


1. Fry the sliced bacon in a little oil until golden in colour. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Then add the vegetable, barley and lentils. Simmer, with the lid on, until the vegetables, barley and lentils are tender. Season to taste and serve with the ever optional slice of bread.

Cost: Including the cost of my stock, 25p, this soup should cost no more than 70p to make. That’s a rather difficult price to argue with, I think you’ll agree?

45 replies on “Rustic Chicken Soup”

I too have become an avid stock-maker. I roasting a duck today, so I’ll be transforming the carcass into stock. Though i am not too sure what one uses duck stock for… any ideas?

It’s like you can see into my fridge! I just defrosted a bag of chicken wings this morning to make a big batch of Jewish penicillin (also known as Chicken soup)today.

I’ll use your recipe now – minus the bacon of course!

thanks so much

Looking forward to a cozy evening meal here in the very cold UK

Awesome recipe! Love the addition of the bacon – cannot believe that I have never thought of ding it before! I would be tempted to add more than just one rasher though.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
🙂 Mandy
PS. Your blondies were fabulous!

No need to add more than one rasher. It’s only there to provide flavour and one rasher does it more than adequately. It’s very subtle, ut also very noticeable. I’m glad you enjoyed the blondies.

Yum! I made a similar chicken & vegetable soup on the weekend, and I completely agree with you about using home-made stock – it makes so much difference! I like your idea of including bacon, I’ll have to try that next time 🙂

Great sounding recipe, though I’ll have to use my food scale to measure the grams, instead of my measuring cup. It’s been about 30 years since I learned metric conversion in school, and well, “use it or lose it” they say.

I never would have though of adding bacon to chicken soup. My next pot will definitely have a new addition! My husband is a big fan of bacon, do you think more could be added without it being too overpowering? He refers to himself as a “meatatarian.” I love soups and stews and he fights me all winter, anything I can do to hush him up I will do. =)

I’d honestly stick to just the one rasher, if you want to add more you could but it’d probably overpower the whole dish. Why not fry some off and place it on top? I’m not so much into my meat, I’m perfectly happy with a good bean or two.

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