You’re likely hunkered down at home in the rain, in need of some food for the soul. Olivetta and Draycott owner Marissa Hermer’s chicken soup recipe from her cookbook, An American Girl in London: 120 Nourishing Recipes for Your Family from a Californian Expat requires only a few simple and accessible ingredients that will help boost spirits and immune systems during difficult times.

“The smell of chicken soup on the stove makes me think of being wrapped up in a cozy blanket while home sick from school, watching afternoon TV,” Hermer tells L.A. Weekly. “Though I was under the weather, these are nice memories because I felt coddled and cared for, and to this day chicken soup makes me feel nourished. Now, with a family of three children under the age of 5, there is almost always someone with a sniffle, so I am perpetually making batches of Mum’s chicken soup.”

Making Mum’s
Chicken Soup (Courtesy Marissa Hermer)

Mum’s Chicken Soup (Serves 10)


  • 1 organic, free- range chicken (3-4 pounds)
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped and divided
  • 1 leek, thoroughly washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped, plus 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 small bunch parsley, stems and leaves chopped separately
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 lemon, halved


  1. In a large stockpot, combine the whole chicken, onion, half the celery, the leek, roughly chopped carrot, ginger, bay leaf, thyme and parsley stems. Fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the chicken so it is submerged. Season with 2 teaspoons sea salt.
  2. Bring the water to a boil over a high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook the chicken for two hours, or until tender.
  3. Strain the soup into a clean soup pot and discard the vegetables. Allow the chicken to cool slightly before picking apart the meat from the bones, both white and dark, and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining celery and diced carrots to the fresh stock and return to the heat. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are slightly tender, and then add the chicken. Season to taste with salt, peppercorns, fresh parsley leaves, and a good squeeze of lemon juice.

Editor’s Note: Hermer is finalizing delivery methods for @the_draycott and @olivetta and will have more announcements  soon  on these handles.

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