Thought Leader Series: 10 Takes on Chicken Soup
Diane Balch is dedicated to simplifying international recipes for the home cook as seen on her blog Simple Living and Eating. It may be that it's just warm and comforting. It may be that it really is a...
Diane Balch is dedicated to simplifying international recipes for the home cook as seen on her blog Simple Living and Eating.
It may be that it's just warm and comforting. It may be that it really is a cure for the common cold. Maybe it just helps you to breathe better. Whatever your theory is about chicken soup, you are not alone in your love for it. Almost every culture has a version of chicken soup; some agree that it is medicinal while others believe it's just a simple nurturing meal for a cold winter day.
You may have a chicken soup recipe that you always make, but let's be honest, it can get a little boring to eat that same recipe over and over again. It's pretty easy to spice it up, though! Start with a basic recipe like this one. Just a simple recipe of chicken pieces in a chicken broth with celery, carrots and onions, with or without a grain or pasta.
Once you find a basic recipe that you enjoy, experiment with different seasonings and ingredients from other countries to liven up your soup. You don't have to follow an exact recipe; chicken soup lends itself to experimentation, so it's hard to really make a mistake with it. To be safe, scoop out a little bit of the soup into a cup. Put new ingredients into the cup instead of pouring them directly into your pot of soup. This will ensure that you only add the ingredients and spices you really like to your main pot of soup.
1. Italian Chicken Soup
Add white beans, parsley and a little parmesan cheese and your chicken soup will speak Italian like in this recipe. Tomato and chickpeas work nicely too. As far as grains, go with Italian soup pearl barley, arborio rice, farro or any type of small pasta.
2. Thai Chicken Soup
A can of coconut milk, a little cilantro and chili oil and your chicken soup will have the exotic taste of Thailand. Check out this Thai Coconut Chicken Soup if you want a more precise recipe.
3. Mexican Chicken Soup
Chipotle peppers, oregano, tomatoes, tortilla chips and cotija cheese make a hearty soup like this crockpot version: Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup.
4. Chinese Chicken Soup
A little ginger, chili pasta and ramen or rice noodles make a fantastic Asian meal in a bowl.
5. Vietnamese Chicken Soup
Tuong Ot Toil (hot sauce) and Bahn Pho noodles will instantly transform your chicken soup into a Vietnamese delight.
6. Peruvian Chicken Soup
To give your soup a South American flavor, try adding red chile, lime, cilantro along with potatoes and hard boiled eggs.
7. Scandinavian Chicken Soup
Requires fresh dill, potatoes and red onions to give it a Nortic flair.
8. Israeli Chicken Soup
To the basic soup recipe, one only really only needs the addition of garlic and either Matzo balls or Matzo crackers to make "Jewish Penicillin."
9. Moroccan Chicken Soup
If you have harissa pasta, add a little to your basic chicken soup recipe. Moroccan chicken soup would not be complete with outcumin, tomatoes, chickpeas and some couscous.
10. British Chicken Soup
This country's version of chicken soup is very basic; the only distinctive cooking technique is sautéing the vegetables in butter instead of oil, and adding a bit of flour to thicken the broth.
There are so many other versions of chicken soup, the list is daunting. The above list should get you started on your international chicken soup journey. Consider investing in a slow cooker to ease your travels. Slow cookers really are tremendously time-saving and convenient, and any soup recipe can be put into a slow cooker.
Browse our selection of cookbooks for more soup ideas.