Here is the recipe for our family’s favorite, homegrown and nourishing chicken soup with spaetzle noodles. We’ve been eating lots of soup the last couple months as illness made its way through the family and no one ever tires of it, it’s so delicious.
I know that there are many recipes out there for chicken soup with a great number of variations, and most will be less time-consuming. But I think that the special ingredient in this recipe is the time involved. The fact is that it takes time to leach all of that healing goodness from the bones of the chicken. I’m not in a rush. I’ve nothing more pressing to do than to make sure that my family is well fed.
This soup is essentially prepared in three steps- first is to build the flavor and nutrition of the stock. The acid is added to help leach as much from the bones as possible. The feet and roasted bones, while optional, add a depth of flavor and texture to the broth that is simply unparalleled. We’ve run out of feet for the year already and I can absolutely tell the difference. I’m actually looking forward to culling the old hens from the flock more for their feet than for the savings on the feed bill.
Once the stock is prepared, the second step is to cook the vegetables. In my old recipe (in the days before extra bones and feet) I would add them at the beginning of the recipe and their texture left a lot to be desired. By cooking them until just tender during the last hour or two they retain both taste and texture.
Finally, the spaetzle is made and added to the soup. I’ve made the spaetzle noodles with half whole wheat and had good results. Experiment with your flour of choice to find what you like best. The recipe for the spaetzle comes from my great-grandmother’s kitchen. The story goes that she could pick her noodles so fast they’d pretty much all be done at the same time, but I, for the life of me, can’t figure out how that’s possible. I employ the help of many little hands and it still takes us about 20-30 minutes for a double recipe of noodles.
Homemade Chicken Soup with Spaetzle NoodlesPrint
Chicken Soup with Homemade Spaetzle
Nourishing, comforting, warming, and hearty chicken soup with homemade spaetzle noodles and the real flavor and nutrition that only comes with time.
- 1 whole chicken
- 4–8 chicken feet, optional
- roasted chicken bones, optional
- 1 onion, halved, peeled
- 2–3 cloves garlic, peeled
- juice of half a lemon or 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar or whey
- generous palmful of sea salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 ½ pounds carrots, peeled, chopped
- 4 small parsnips, peeled, chopped
- 5–6 celery stalks, chopped including leaves
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Spaetzle Noodles:
- 1 ½ cup flour of choice
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In a large stockpot place the chicken, feet, bones, onion, garlic, acid, and seasoning.
- Fill the pot to the brim with water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a low temperature. Continue to simmer on low for several hours until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone.
- Strain the stock from the pot through a colander (into another large stockpot or I use a large bread bowl).
- Set the colander of chicken aside and return the strained stock to the pot.
- Add the prepared vegetables and parsley to the stock and simmer over low heat until the vegetables are tender, maybe 1 1/2-2 hours.
- Meanwhile pick the chicken meat from the bones and reserve it, discarding the remainder of the strained ingredients and adding the chicken back into the soup to warm while the noodles are cooking.
- To prepare the noodles, simply mix together the flour, eggs, and salt until a very stiff dough forms. Be sure to add enough flour that the dough will not stick to your fingers while picking the noodles. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
- Pick off small pea-sized noodles until you have picked through all of the dough.
- Keep the flour handy, you may have to dust your fingers to keep the noodles from sticking a bit. Drop the noodles into the pot of boiling water and boil for about 8 minutes after adding the last noodle.
- Drain the water.
- Either add to the soup or serve individually in a bowl and top with the soup.
Oh my that looks yummy, I have been thinking of having one night a week that is soup night. Okay when I hear chicken legs I think thigh and drumstick but you are referring to the foot part of the leg??? Because you already have a whole chicken in there??? Just making sure I understand 🙂 Do you use this recipe with an older chicken or this is one of your meat birds? Looks fantastic and I praying for good health for your beautiful family!!
I do mean feet- I updated to clarify, thanks!! I don’t know why I call them legs all the time. Maybe it’s a mental thing 😉 I usually use a meat bird, but have used a rooster in the past which was really good too. They, same with old hens, are well suited to the low and slow cooking method. And roosters are super rich dark meat throughout, even the breasts and so delicious they shouldn’t ever be wasted! Thanks for the prayers! We’re thankful to be all be healthy right now and I’m serving up lots of soup, citrus, yogurt, and raw milk (not together) to try to keep it that way! Blessings 🙂
Perfect healing nourishment. My grandmothers made them, too..and now, so do I. We use half white half wheat flour for ours.
My grandma had a special fork to make spaetzle, but my aunt claimed it when my grandma died. I haven’t been able to find that same fork, but I did buy a spaetzle maker on Amazon for $20. Best purchase I’ve ever made.
I think in Germany most women have a Spätzle Maker. And here, Tupperware is offering two different sizes. I have a metal one – but my sisters have the Tupperware and really love it. The biggest difference ist, it’s so much easier to clean! It’s so easy to make Spätzle (I know, you don’t have the letter Ä, but that’s the right way to write the word 😉 ) with a maker. Just make the batter more liquid and squeeze it through the holes and Spätzle will be one of your quickest meals! It’s really worth it! We love it and eat it very often.
That’s how I do it!
I saw something similar done once with a colander and tried it and made myself a kitchen disaster. I guess a proper spaetzle maker would probably be sharper? I’ll have to look into finding one- thanks!
That looks fabulous! I’d just have to tell myself not to think of the chicken’s feet while eating. 😉
Langela Richardson says
Though I know you scrub the feet before using them, I wouldn’t be able to get past the thought of where those feet have been and what they walked through. 🙂
I wouldn’t either except that when the feet are processed (see link), you blanch them which loosens the scales and they peel off. So technically, the part that walked through who knows what gets tossed in the trash. So do the toenails which creep me out too. At any rate, it’s still a very tasty soup even if you forgo the feet 🙂
looks delish!!! The pictures as always are stunning!
We’ll see what foodgawker says 😉 Usually they reject my submissions. Thanks Mosey!
Love the look of these spaetzle! I’ve made some in the past, just boiled in water. I take up some dough on the end of a fork and push it off with my finger into the water. Then I drained then and sauteed them in butter and served with a pasta sauce. They were SO good. I’ve eaten leftover for breakfast with cinnamon and syrup or honey too. Tastes like french toast. Ummm *grin*
We culling out roosters tomorrow so I think this will be on the menu soon!
Wanna come do ours? I’ve had culling on the to-do list for weeks, but it just isn’t getting done!! Your serving suggestions sounds amazing!
OH my ~ this looks & sounds just delicious. OK I’m going to print it off & put it into my recipe folder to try for when it’s cooler ( soup & summer just don’t mix). I have some chicken in the freezer that would go well for this ~ come on cooler weather!!!!
I always love your recipes ~ they’ve always been delicious & I have quite a few in my folder now 🙂
Have a wonderful, warm day ( want some of our heat??)
Marla Meridith says
Love this recipe! Will be linking back to this in my upcoming post 🙂
Inge Echterhölter says
If I hadn't just had a hearty soup, I would run to the kitchen right now to make this. I love spaetzle since it reminds me of my time in Baden-Württemberg where they are from. Always looking for alternative dishes with Spätzle and this one looks absolutely delicious. Saving this for my next 'hearty soup day' !!
Hi, I’m confused by the “roasted chicken bones” you mention as an ingredient. Do you roast a separate chicken in the oven and pick out the bones, which you then throw into the soup? Or do you have a bunch of bones you roast in the oven alone, and then toss in? Or is it just uncooked extra bones?
You can either use the bones from a chicken that you roasted or if you have the bones leftover from something else you can toss them in a hot oven for 20 minutes or so until they’re darkened. I just cleaned out the freezer yesterday and found a bag of golden brown bones in there. Adding them to the soup pot makes for even better flavor and a richer, gelatinous, darker stock.