Chicken, silverbeet, lemon and parsley soup

This recipe, from my cookbook Fresh Start, will make you feel good from the inside out – especially if you’ve got a cold. I cook a whole chicken in the pot to make a delicious (real) stock, then add the clean flavours of lemon, parsley and a good dose of silverbeet, spinach or chard for extra goodness!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Appetizer and Starters, Lunch, Main, Soups and Salad
Calories 260 kcal
Dairy Free, Diabetic, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly


Chicken and stock

  • 1 chicken, whole free-range size 16
  • 4-5 sprigs thyme
  • 1-2 carrots chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 l water
  • 1.5 l chicken stock

Soup contents

  • orzo/risoni or macaroni elbow pasta 1 ¾ cups optional
  • lemon Juice of 1
  • silverbeet spinach or chard 1 bunch (about 400-450g), bottom 1-2 inches of stem removed, remaining stem and leaves finely sliced
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley chopped


  • Wash chicken inside and out, making sure gut cavity is clean. Place whole chicken, thyme, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, black peppercorns and salt in a large pot and pour over stock and water to just cover. Cover with a lid and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through (check by cutting between the drum and thigh with the tip of a sharp knife).
  • Remove chicken from pot and set aside. Strain stock into another large pot or bowl (don’t strain it into the sink and accidentally lose your precious stock down the sink like I once did!) to remove all the vegetables and discard. Return stock to the pot and bring to the boil. Add pasta (if using), stir, and boil until just cooked, about 8-10 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • While pasta is cooking, shred chicken meat (pull apart into portions and shred meat with two forks or pick it off with your hands if it’s cool enough), discarding the skin. Add shredded chicken, lemon juice and silverbeet to the soup and simmer for a further 2 minutes or so until hot through and the silverbeet has wilted.
  • To serve, ladle into bowls, garnish with parsley and serve piping hot.


This is a really easy recipe – you basically throw everything in the pot, leave it to simmer for an hour, then shred the chicken and add it back to the soup! Simply omit the pasta (or use gluten-free pasta) to make it gluten free.