Lemony Chicken and Risoni Soup

Now I have a large, active family who seem to be always on the go, this soup takes me back to those slow, treasured newborn days in an instant. Isn’t it so lovely how food can do that?

Jessica says…

During the cold, wintry months there is nothing quite like a nourishing bowl of lemony chicken soup to warm me up from the inside out. It’s made in a big batch, and I love filling my freezer with leftovers to enjoy for a warming lunch or a simple dinner served with some crusty bread. With so much to go around, it’s perfect for sharing with friends and family too.

In fact, the reason why I love this soup so much is that it was gifted to me by a gorgeous friend as part of a little food care package, which also included some garlic bread and chocolate biscuits, when my fourth little boy was a newborn. Those early days of caring for my new babies have been some of my absolute favourite and treasured moments. The days can be all-consuming and exhausting too, and the generosity and kindness of a cooked meal is forever remembered – especially when it tastes so good! When sleep-deprived with a snuggly baby in your arms, simply knowing that you have a delicious meal on hand to sustain you and serve to your family is just as comforting as the meal itself. In turn, we love paying this recipe forward and gifting it to new parents, sick friends or a family who needs a nutritious meal, or even simply as a thank you to a special someone.

Our lemony chicken and risoni soup is a nourishing broth made with a range of lovely herbs and vegetables, with the risoni and shredded chicken adding additional nutrients and texture. It’s the boost every immune system needs. The soup is easily adapted to suit the particular taste or textural preferences of family members at all ages and stages.

Now I have a large, active family who seem to be always on the go, this soup takes me back to those slow, treasured newborn days in an instant. Isn’t it so lovely how food can do that?

TIP Keep the leftover soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days or freeze in airtight containers for up to 2 months.



Lemony Chicken and Risoni Soup


1.6kg whole free-range chicken
3 tomatoes
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, halved
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup risoni
1 large handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
Ground black pepper, to taste 


Rinse the chicken well under cold water, then place it in a large heavy-based saucepan with 1 tomato, roughly chopped, along with the onion, celery, carrot, peppercorns, garlic, bay leaf and 8 cups (2 litres) of water. Finely chop the remaining tomatoes and set aside.

Place the lid on the saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 1 hour, or until the chicken is tender and comes off the bone easily. Check every 30 minutes to ensure it stays at a gentle simmer, and skim any scum off the surface of the broth.

Turn off the heat and carefully transfer the chicken to a plate. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the chicken meat from the bones and shred finely or coarsely, depending on your preference. There is plenty of chicken, so set aside some to toss through pasta or make a delicious sandwich filling, or as finger food for a baby or toddler.

While the chicken is cooling, strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer, lined with a muslin cloth or a light, cotton tea towel if you wish, for a clearer broth. Reserve some or all of the carrot and celery and discard the rest of the vegetables.

Return the strained broth to the saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Add the risoni and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente. Return the chicken, carrot and celery to the soup and stir in the parsley and reserved chopped tomatoes. Add the lemon juice a little at a time until you reach your desired flavour. Season with pepper to taste.

Cool the leftover soup and portion into airtight containers.