All the creamy goodness of condensed cream of chicken soup, but made from scratch with whole ingredients. Use this soup in any recipe calling for condensed canned soup, or thin it out with some broth and eat it all on its own!
- 4 chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Render the fat from the chicken: Sprinkle the four chicken thighs with salt and freshly ground pepper over and under the skin. Heat the oil in a medium pan with deep sides over medium high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the thighs skin side down.
Cook at medium high for about 5 minutes, until the skin has a nice golden brown color. A few bits of skin may even stick to the pan. That’s ok.
Reduce the heat to medium. Let the chicken cook for another 15 minutes untouched. If the skin seems like it’s starting to burn, turn down the heat a little more. Flip and cook on the other side for about 5 minutes.
When done, the skin should be crisp and golden and the chicken should have rendered about a 1/4 cup of fat (just eyeball it; you’ll be fine!). If you have more than 1/4 cup, reserve the extra for another purpose or discard.
It’s ok if the chicken isn’t entirely cooked through at this point -- your goal in this step is to render the fat from the chicken skin, and develop the browning in the pan and not necessarily cook the meat through.
2 Meanwhile, bring 3 cups of water, bay leaf and good pinch of salt to a boil in medium sauce pan over medium high heat.
3 Make the soup stock: Once you’ve finished rendering the fat from the chicken thighs, remove the pan from heat and transfer the thighs to the pot of boiling water. If your chicken isn’t completely covered with water, add more so it is. Leave the pot uncovered.
Reduce heat under the pan of water so it comes down to a gentle simmer. Cook the chicken for 9-11 minutes, until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Skim any foam from the top of the water.
4 Strain the soup stock: Remove the chicken from the pot of water. Put on plate and set aside to cool.
Strain stock through fine mesh strainer into a liquid measuring cup. You should have somewhere between 2 to 4 cups of chicken stock. Measure out 2 1/4 cups of the stock and set aside (add water if needed to make this amount; if you have more stock than needed, save the leftover for another recipe.)
5 Make the roux: Return the pan with the rendered chicken fat to medium heat. While whisking constantly, sprinkle flour a little at a time over the fat until all the flour is mixed in and you have a white paste.
Keep whisking continuously until the roux turns a golden color, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped onion and the minced garlic – the roux will get crumbly when you add the vegetables, and that’s ok. Keep whisking for about 5 more minutes until the onions are cooked through. It will smooth out again when you add the stock.
6 Make the creamy soup base: While whisking continuously, slowly pour the 2 1/4 cups of stock into the pan with the roux. At first, it will have the consistency of paste with clumps of onion in it. Just keep whisking and slowing adding the stock. At this point your soup may look a little watery, and you could even see fat around the edges of the pan. That’s ok.
Once all the stock is added, increase the heat to medium high and whisk for about 8 minutes until the liquid is noticeably thicker than syrup, but thinner than ketchup.
Reduce the heat to medium. Keep an eye on the soup while you do the next step (shredding the chicken) so that it stays warm but doesn’t boil. Whisk the soup occasionally.
7 Add the chicken: Pull the meat off two of the chicken thighs, and chop it finely; you should have 3/4 to 1 cup of chicken meat. Save the remaining two chicken thighs for another meal.
8 Finish the soup: Slowly whisk in the heavy cream. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed, to taste.
The soup can be used immediately. Alternatively, cool and store in fridge for up to four days.