Volta Portuguese Style Chicken Soup

My husband Mike, often talks of his Grandma Albina Volta’s chicken soup with such happy memories.  How delicious it was and most of all of the family memories from going to her home on Sundays and enjoying it with the family.  Since we didn’t have the recipe I began asking around the family for it.  Unfortunately no one has it, but they did have some ingredient ideas and so many loving memories, just like Mike.  Everyone encouraged me to make it, please and give us the recipe.  Oh boy, no pressure here 😉  The more I talked with the Volta-Sousa family the more I learned that the most important ingredient in this soup is love.   

I had never made chicken noodle soup before so I also made sure to talk with my Dad, Frank Czapski for some advice, he is an amazing cook who always cooks with love and he and his mom also made delicious Chicken Soup.  

Making chicken noodle soup from “scratch” is not easy!  I have so much admiration for the women in previous generations who spent the entire day in the kitchen, day in and day out.  Seeing how much Mike enjoyed the soup today, made it worth it.  There are so many ways to make chicken noodle soup and while my recipe may not be identical to Mike’s grandma or mine, one thing is certain, lot’s of love and memories come with this delicious recipe!

Whole Chicken, about 3lbs

6 cups water

4 cups chicken broth

1 large white onion, chopped

5 large celery stalks, chopped

2 lbs carrots, peeled & sliced

4 cloves garlic, peeled

3 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp pepper

3 cups ditalini pasta

1 lemon, juice & zest

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  
  2. Using a large roasting pan add 2 stalks of celery, celery leaves, onion, garlic and half of the carrots (1 pound).  Drizzle over 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil and season with salt & pepper.
  3. Remove the chicken gizzards/neck from the chicken and discard.  Place whole chicken on top of veggies and rub with 2 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil and generously with salt & pepper.
  4. As it’s roasting bring chicken broth and water to a simmer in a stock pot.
  5. Roast for 1.5 hours.  
  6. Remove chicken meat from the bones by slicing or picking off with your hands.  Cut chicken meat into bite size pieces and set aside.  
  7. Combine the chicken bones-roasted vegetable mix with the chicken/water broth into whichever of you pans is bigger to hold it all.
  8. Simmer for 1 hour.
  9. Strain the soup.  Remove the bones etc., with tongs.  Then strain through your pasta strainer.  You can strain further if you want using a fine strainer.  
  10. Discard everything but the broth, or liquid gold as it’s called.
  11. Return the broth to a simmer.  Skim off the fat from the top.  
  12. Add salt, pepper and the chicken meat, remaining uncooked celery and carrots and simmer on low covered for 1 hour.
  13. Cook pasta in a separate pan as per package directions.
  14. Add lemon juice/zest to the chicken noodle soup right before serving chicken soup over the noodles in a bowl.

A few shortcut ideas, will have less flavor but still be good:

  1. Use chicken breast or rotisserie chicken.
  2. Use celery salt instead of celery.
  3. Skip the roasting step.