When we talk about food that feeds the soul, chicken soup is at the top of the list. We all have memories of our mother’s chicken soup that comforted us when we were sick and warmed our bellies on Friday nights. It is a comfort food that is always good, whether you’re craving a taste of home or want to take the chill off a cold winter day. There are many ways to make this classic dish that’s prepared all around the world.
Classic. The classic chicken soup is made with a whole chicken, carrots, celery ribs, onion, garlic, and aromatics like parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Egg noodles are added to make it a filling one-bowl meal.
European. The traditional Ashkenazic dish is made with herbs like parsley and dill or thyme, often served with kneidlach (matzah balls) and lokshen (noodles).
Asian. Asian soups are served in deep bowls; traditionally, one eats the noodles using chopsticks before drinking the soup. Fresh ginger, spicy chili powder, and red pepper flakes are added to the vegetables, which include bok choy and shiitake mushrooms. The broth incorporates crushed tomatoes, cilantro, and soy sauce.
Thai. Tom kha gai, Thai chicken soup, is a spicy version with cooling coconut milk to balance the heat and lime for tartness. Made with mushrooms, ginger, thai chilies for spice, cilantro, and the optional addition of tomatoes and lemongrass. Add rice noodles or rice to make it more substantial.
Korean and Japanese. Made with udon noodles, shiitake mushrooms, and ginger. Korean has cubed tofu, kimchi (fermented cabbage), and sesame oil, while Japanese has soy sauce and rice wine (sake) to deepen the flavor of the broth.
Vietnamese. Pho ga is a soup of chicken broth, rice noodles, herbs, and chicken. The broth is made with toasted spices to give a rich flavor.
Moroccan. Make a spicy soupier version of a tagine with sautéed onions, boneless chicken thighs, cayenne, cumin, sweet potato or butternut squash, and tomato purée with the broth. Serve with couscous instead of noodles.
Mexican. Posole has many variations, but chicken posole is a Mexican chicken soup with shredded chicken and tomatillos, and topped with avocado, sliced radishes and cilantro. It is traditionally made with hominy, which is a dried corn kernel with hulls and germs removed.
Italian. In Italy, chicken soup is served with some kind of pasta, and the meat and vegetables are often removed and served as a separate dish. Stracciatella is a classic Italian chicken soup made with spinach and bits of beaten egg.
Southwestern. This chicken soup is made with rice and beans, using shredded rotisserie chicken, and topped with chopped tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and fresh lime juice. v
Moroccan Chicken Soup With Couscous
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 onion, chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
¼ tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. ground cumin
1¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 sweet potato, cut into cubes
1 zucchini, quartered and cut into 1” pieces
¾ cup tomato purée
1 quart water
2 cups chicken broth or stock
½ cup couscous
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat and add onion, stirring occasionally, until translucent (5 minutes).
Add chicken, cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper and increase heat to high. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add sweet potato, zucchini, tomato purée, water, and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cooking till vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add couscous and simmer another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 2 minutes before serving.
Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook that you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to elke@TakeHomeChef.net, or visiting www.TakeHomeChef.net.