Vince’s special chicken soup to warm the soul

HERE IS another recipe from my book The Flesh In My Life which is available from my shop Mondos Butchers in Beaufort Street, Inglewood and various other stores.

Dad raised chickens and Mum would make us broth; she’d use many diff erent ways to enhance the flavour. You can be inventive as well.

Of course, because you are not slaughtering your own chickens you miss out on all the extras.

Mum put everything into our soup: blood, liver, heart, intestines, feet, and the head. I loved the real food. Being poor, nothing was wasted.

Serves 6 to 8


  • 1 boiling hen (approx. 1.2-1.5 kg)
  • 4 litres of water
  • 3 celery stalks with leaves
  • 2 carrots, peeled and left whole
  • 200gm leek, washed (make sure there is no sand between the leaves)
  • 2 red-ripe tomatoes, fresh, cut in half
  • 100gm at leaf parsley, leaves and stalks
  • WA lake salt ground
  • white pepper


In a large stock pot add all of the ingredients, with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to the boil and then turn down to a gentle simmer for about one and half to two hours.
Turn off the heat and skim off any fat.
Remove the chicken and carrots and set aside.

Strain the broth and the other vegetables, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible, then discard the vegetables.

Here are four ways to serve the broth: 

Remove the bones from the chicken, and then dice up the meat and the carrots. Add them to the boiling broth, along with approx. 300gm of soup pasta. Cook until the pasta is al dente. Check the seasoning and serve with grated parmesan.

Combine four beaten eggs with ¼ cup dry bread- crumbs, ¼ cup grated pecorino, and 2 tbsp of chopped parsley, then mix together with ½ cup of broth. Add to the simmering broth and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Check the seasoning and serve in bowls, offering the chicken as a second course with salad.

In a clean pot, put 2 tbsp of oil and sauté 1kg of cleaned fennel bulb and stalk,  nely diced. Add two crushed garlic cloves and cook for about eight minutes until golden. Then add four cups of broth, along with parsley. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste, then simmer for 30 minutes until the fennel is tender. In individual serving bowls, place a slice of toasted Italian bread with a tbsp of grated pecorino on top. Ladle the hot broth over it, then top with a drizzle of olive oil and serve. Serve the chicken separately.

Into the simmering broth, add 500gm of mini meatballs and 200gm of small soup pasta. Cook until the pasta is al dente and the meatballs are cooked. Then add 500gm of clean baby spinach leaves. Turn off the heat. Serve in bowls with grated pecorino, and the chicken separate with a salad.