Alison Jonesís Chicken Soup

31 May 2019 Tastes Like Home

Alison Jonesís Chicken Soup


This is the quantity for one 24-litre pot, so for 2 litres divide by about 12. Both quantities and ingredients are flexible – things can be added or left out according to taste.

12 chicken frames,
washed and fat removed
1 broiler chicken:
cut into 4, washed, with fat and excess skin removed
1 veal shank, cut into 3
1 piece top rib
4 veal bones
½kg chicken giblets
4 carrots, peeled and cut into discs
½ bunch of celery, washed and cut into pieces
4 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
4 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
1 bunch of dill or curly leaf parsley, washed and stalks removed
salt and pepper


Place all ingredients into a 24-litre pot and cover generously with water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring ingredients to boil, then keep slowly boiling for 2-3 hours. Turn off stove and allow mixture to cool.
Strain the soup through a colander.
Add the cooked carrot, chicken, veal shank and giblets to the strained broth. Discard everything else.
Can be served with noodles or kreplach, small savoury pastries stuffed with meat mince.
Soup can be eaten immediately or frozen.

Alison says...

The smell of chicken soup: sweet, nurturing and captivating, conjures images of joyous meals with family and friends. Chicken soup prepared in a 24-litre pot that takes all day to cook and all night to cool. Chicken soup, its comforting aroma wafting throughout the house. For 20 years I’ve made it for my family.

But there was one long year when that fragrance didn’t permeate every nook and cranny of my home. A year without guests. A year when the house did not ring to the sound of children playing while their parents sat at the table. The year I was diagnosed with an incurable cancer.

The treatment was grueling, but effective. When I finally felt well enough to once again cook that chicken soup it seemed like I had reached a milestone in my arduous journey to normalcy – to the usual and the mundane. I used to despise those words of mediocrity, but now I longed for them. I longed for life to be regular, to be absorbed in the everyday tasks of parenting five children.

When my 10-year-old daughter Leah asked me when things would return to normal, for her that meant once again having guests. When I woke to the fragrance of chicken soup throughout the house, indicating the pending arrival of guests to celebrate the Passover Seder feast, I rejoiced that things were once again becoming routine.

That incurable cancer, though still a part of me, will never define me, limit me nor restrict me. And that massive pot of chicken soup on the stove was a sign that everything was almost back to normal.
When I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, I was told that because of research into my disease outcomes for patients had considerably improved. This research gave me hope, and ultimately saved my life. I’m planning to raise $1 million for further research into all cancers so that other recently diagnosed and frightened patients can hear similar words of hope.

» Alison’s memoir, The Jones Family Food Roster, is out now. It explores the power of community, parenting during a time of crisis, and how to embrace life on your own terms. The memoir includes 14 recipes. To contribute to Alison’s fundraising campaign, visit

» First published in Ed#586