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Chicken soup

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Chicken soup

Chicken soup
A classic French/American preparation of chicken noodle soup made with a stewing hen and flavored with thyme and black pepper
Course Soup
Main ingredients Chicken

Chicken soup is a soup made from chicken, simmered in water, usually with various other ingredients. The classic chicken soup consists of a clear broth, often with pieces of chicken or vegetables; common additions are pasta, dumplings, or grains such as rice and barley. Chicken soup has acquired the reputation of a folk remedy for colds and flus, and in many countries is considered a comfort food.


Variations on the flavor are gained by adding root vegetables such as parsnip, potato, sweet potato and celery root, herbs such as parsley, dill, other vegetables such as zucchini, whole garlic cloves or tomatoes and black pepper. The soup should be brought slowly to a boil and then simmered in a covered pot on a very low flame for one to three hours, adding water if necessary. A clearer broth is achieved by skimming the drops of fat off the top of the soup as it is cooking, first bringing the chicken to boil from a pot of cold water and discarding the water before continuing, or straining it through a strainer or cheesecloth. Saffron or turmeric are sometimes added as a yellow colorant. Then, the chicken can be shredded by hand and stored in the refrigerator until ready for use in the soup.

Nutritional value

Chicken soup can be a relatively low fat food: fat can be removed by chilling the soup after cooking and skimming the layer of congealed fat from the top.[1] A study determined that "prolonged cooking of a bone in soup increases the calcium content of the soup when cooked at an acidic, but not at a neutral pH".[2]


Several terms are used when referring to chicken soups:

  • Chicken stock is a liquid in which chicken bones and vegetables have been simmered for the purpose of serving as an ingredient in more complex dishes. Chicken stock is not usually served as is. Stock can be made with less palatable parts of the chicken, such as feet, necks or bones: the higher bone content in these parts contributes more gelatin to the liquid, making it a better base for sauces. Stock can be reboiled and reused as the basis for a new stock. Bouillon cubes or soup base are often used instead of chicken stock prepared from scratch.
  • Chicken broth is the liquid part of chicken soup. Broth can be served as is, or used as stock, or served as soup with noodles. Broth can be milder than stock, does not need to be boiled as long, and can be made with meatier chicken parts.
  • Chicken bouillon or bouillon de poulet is the French term for chicken broth.
  • Chicken consommé is a more refined chicken broth. It is usually strained to perfect clarity, and reduced to concentrate it.
  • Chicken stew is a more substantial dish with a higher ratio of solids to broth. The broth may also be thickened toward a gravy-like consistency with a roux or by adding flour-based dumplings (matzah balls do not have the same thickening effect).
  • While any soup in which chicken has been simmered or with a chicken stock base is, strictly speaking, a chicken soup, chicken soup, unless qualified, implies that the soup is served as a thin broth, possibly with pieces of meat, vegetables, noodles, rice or dumplings.
  • Cream of chicken soup is a thick, creamy soup made with chicken stock and pieces combined with milk and/or cream and flour which may or may not contain vegetable pieces depending on the recipe.

Medicinal properties

Chicken soup has long been touted as a form of folk medicine to treat symptoms of the common cold and related conditions. In 2000, scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha studied the effect of chicken soup on the inflammatory response in vitro. They found that some components of the chicken soup inhibit neutrophil migration, which may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could hypothetically lead to temporary ease from symptoms of illness.[3] However, since these results have been obtained from purified cells (and directly applied), the diluted soup in vivo effect is debatable. The New York Times reviewed the University of Nebraska study, among others, in 2007 and concluded that "none of the research is conclusive, and it's not known whether the changes measured in the laboratory really have a meaningful effect on people with cold symptoms."[4]

It has also been shown that chicken soup contains the Amino acid cysteine,[5] which is very similar to acetylcysteine, which is used by doctors for patients with bronchitis and other respiratory infections to help clear them.

Chicken soup in different cultures


In Bulgaria, chicken soup is often seasoned with lemon juice or vinegar. Very often people use to add at the end of the cooking a mixture of yogurt and egg to make the soup denser and creamier, by combining one egg with 100–150 ml yogurt in a deep cup and mixing it until smooth. This get added slowly by continuously stirring to the soup after the pot was taken from the stove to prevent curdling. Finely fresh chopped parsley would be added before serving.


Many Chinese soups are based on chicken broth. Typical Chinese chicken soup is made from old hens and is seasoned with ginger, scallions, black pepper, soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil. A more elaborate version can be made from freshly killed old hen and various herbs such as ginseng, dried goji, and old ginger root. The soup is then boiled for hours. In Taiwan-style chicken soup dried jujube fruits, tea, and other various herbs also sometimes added. While it may be possible to use regular ginseng in the recipe, a special type of ginseng called San qi is commonly used. This is grown almost exclusively in Wenshan County, Yunnan Province. The roots are powdered for ease of use, although it may also be possible to use the flowerheads.


Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, is known for a version of chicken soup called ajiaco. Along with chicken, ajiaco typically includes corn, three types of potatoes, avocado, capers, an herb called guascas, and is served with a dollop of cream.

Sancocho de Gallina is another popular dish throughout Colombia and in neighboring countries. This is a broth that includes entire pieces of (often rather tough) soup hen on the bone with large pieces of plantain, potato, cassava and/or other vegetables. A bowl of Sancocho is usually an entire meal. There are Region, as in Medellin — Antioquia, that some people enjoy Sancocho with lemon


The Danish hønsekødssuppe is traditionally cooked using large hens specifically reserved for soup, known as "suppe høner" (lit.: soup hens). Vegetables like celeriac, carrots, onions and leeks are usually added and typical flavourings are thyme, laurels and white pepper. The soup may be served with small white dumplings and meatballs. As part of traditional housekeeping, the cooked meat is reserved for other dishes like "Høns i asparges" (lit.: Hens in asparagus) or "Hønsesalat" (lit.: hens-salad)[6]


The French serve chicken-based forms of bouillon and consommé. Typical French seasoning for chicken soup includes: bay leaves, fresh thyme, dry white wine and garlic.


In Germany chicken soup is made with chicken broth, vegetables, such as carrots, spices and herbs and small noodles. For the broth a hen, named Suppenhuhn, may be boiled and pieces of it, especially from the boiled breast, can later be added to the soup. In southern Germany homemade chicken soup typically consists of chicken broth, to which spices and semolina dumplings or Spätzle noodles are added. Another dish made with chicken broth, pieces of chicken, boiled vegetables, and spices is known as Hühnereintopf, meaning chicken stew. Alternatively, homemade noodles may be added to the chicken broth, without vegetables, and with only pickling spice and salt and pepper added to it.


In Greece, chicken soup is most commonly made in the avgolemono ("egg-lemon") fashion, wherein beaten eggs mixed with lemon are added to a broth slowly so that the mixture heats up without curdling, also adding rice or pasta like kritharáki ("little barley;" orzo), resulting in a thicker texture; it is a traditional remedy for colds, stomach aches, and hangovers.


Hungarian chicken soup is a clear soup, a consommé, called Újházi chicken soup.[7] A consommé with entire pieces of chicken, chicken liver and heart, with chunky vegetables and spices like whole black peppercorn, bay leaves, salt and ground black pepper. The vegetables boiled along with the pieces of chicken are usually carrots, celeriac, parsley root[8] and parsnip. Soup vermicelli, semolina dumplings or thin Spätzle noodles or small dumplings are also added to the soup. Even other vegetables may be used, such as green peas, a whole tomato and whole onions boiled along with the soup, mushrooms, asparagus, celery, green pepper, cauliflower, kohlrabi, green beans or parsley, in different combinations.


In Indonesia chicken soup might appear as sayur sop, vegetable and chicken broth soup that contains chicken pieces, potato, green beans, carrot, celery, and fried shallot.[9] Another chicken soup variant commonly found across the country is soto ayam;[10] a turmeric yellow spicy chicken soup with vegetables and noodle or vermicelli, served with steamed rice, pieces of lontong or ketupat.[11]

European Jews

Kreplach shaped in the form of hamantashen float in a bowl of chicken soup made for the Purim seudah.

Chicken soup is a traditional dish of the Jewish kitchen. The 12th-century rabbi and physician Maimonides touted the benefits of chicken soup to one's health.[12]

The soup is prepared with herbs like parsley and fresh dill or thyme, was often served with kneidlach (matzah balls), kreplach (dumplings), lokshen (flat egg noodles), or mandlen (Shkedei Marak in Israel) (soup "nuts"). A traditional garnish was unlaid chicken eggs, which were taken from a hen and boiled in the soup.[13] Modern health standards make these difficult to obtain now.


In Italy, chicken soup is often served with pasta, in such dishes as cappelletti in brodo, tortellini in brodo and passatelli. Even when served on its own, the meat and any vegetables used are usually removed from the broth and served as a second dish.


In Japan, chicken soup is known as Torijiru.[14] Typically it starts with dashi, which is made from boiling konbu (kelp) and katsuobushi (dried skipjack tuna flakes), and not by boiling the chicken (whole chicken is not typically available in Japanese supermarkets). After the dashi is prepared, pieces of boneless chicken thigh meat are usually used and combined with vegetables like daikon radish, carrot, burdock, konnyaku, welsh onion, mushrooms, potatoes, and taro root. At the end, different seasonings are added depending on the region of the country or type of soup. It could be a miso-based soup or soy sauce-based. Cooking sake, mirin, salt, and vinegar are also used with the soy sauce or miso. The pork equivalent called Butajiru is more popular than the chicken-based soup.

Shio and shoyu ramen are also often made with chicken stock, and it is almost invariably used in the less common kotteri variety.


Samgyetang, a Korean chicken soup

Samgyetang is a Korean chicken soup with Korean ginseng, dried jujube fruits, garlic, ginger, glutinous rice, and sometimes other medicinal herbs. It is held to be not only a cure for physical ailments but a preventer of sickness. Baeksuk, which is the Korean counterpart to the chicken noodle soup of Western culture, is also popular among Koreans for its power to cure minor illnesses such as a cold. While the chicken noodle soup, as the name suggests, has some noodles in it, quite often Baeksuk does not contain any noodles.


Caldo de pollo, also known as Consome de Pollo, is a common Latin-American soup made with whole chicken pieces instead of chopped or shredded chicken, and large cuts of vegetables, such as half-slices of potatoes and whole leaves of cabbage. Another variation of chicken soup is caldo tlalpeño which is garnished with chopped avocado, white cheese, and a chipotle chile.


In Pakistan various forms of chicken soups exist. The most famous one is Chicken Corn Soup.[15][16][17] Other variants are Chicken Egg Soup and Simple Chicken Soup.[18]


Caldo de Gallina (lit., "broth of hen"), the Peruvian form of chicken soup, is made with whole pieces of chicken instead of chopped or shredded chicken, along with potatoes, egg noodles, and hard-boiled eggs. Lime wedges and chili or aji pepper paste are added as condiments.[19]


A bowl of Tinola, a chicken soup from the Philippines

Western style chicken soup in the Philippines is called sopas. While there are many variations in the recipe, it usually contains chicken strips in broth, onions, vegetables (mainly carrots, cabbage and celery), and macaroni noodles. It is cooked with evaporated milk to give it richer flavor. Sopas is normally associated with the cold, rainy season in the Philippines, and may thus be regarded as local comfort food.

Oriental style chicken soup are generally called mami and normally served with sliced chicken, broth, noodles, chopped vegetables which resembles their East Asian versions.

Other chicken dishes are considered soups. Tinola has chicken cuts in broth, with ginger, chayote, and chili pepper leaves. Sinampalukang manok is basically just a chicken version of sinigang, but here the meat is browned first before being boiled in the water.


Soup almonds are crisp bread croutons that are often added to soup in Israel

The Polish chicken soup. It is commonly served with fine noodles and sometimes ground almonds in their broth called rosół: this was probably the basis for a form of mini croutons popular in Israel, known as soup almonds (in Hebrew "Shkedei Marak" שקדיי מרק-).

Portugal and Brazil

Chicken soup is known as canja, a chicken broth prepared with rice or pasta and shredded chicken meat. It is believed to help a person overcome colds and digestive problems, among other mild forms of sickness.


In most regions of Romania, chicken soup known as ciorbă de pui consists of a clear and sour soup with strained chicken and vegetable broth, sometimes noodles have been added. Different versions, uses pieces of chicken and pieces of boiled vegetables and is seasoned usually with smântână and borş.

Russia and Ukraine

Russians and Ukrainians traditionally prefer an often simple chicken and vegetable bouillon with added rice, chopped boiled egg, sour cream and a pinch of fresh herbs. Another type of chicken soup in Russia includes chicken, noodles, carrot, potato and onion.

United Kingdom

Traditionally, chicken soup (or broth) in Britain is a clear and watery soup with chunky vegetables (such as carrot, celery and onion), chicken, salt and pepper. However, a thick, creamy variety called cream of chicken soup, which may not contain any vegetable pieces (depending on the recipe), is more popular today. A distinct version from Scotland that has become popular throughout the UK is cock-a-leekie soup, a clear, thin broth of shredded chicken and leeks.

United States and Canada

In the United States and Canada, chicken soup often has noodles or rice in it, thus giving it its common name of "chicken noodle soup."[20] The term may have been coined in a commercial for the Campbell Soup Company in the 1930s. The original 21 varieties of Campbell's condensed soup featured a "chicken soup with noodles", but when it was advertised on the Amos 'n' Andy radio show in the 1930s by a slip of the tongue the soup was referred to as "chicken noodle soup". Traditionally, American chicken soup was prepared using old hens too tough and stringy to be roasted or cooked for a short time. In modern times, these fowl are difficult to come by, and broiler chickens (young chickens suitable for broiling or roasting) are often used to make soup.

Chicken soup in history and media

Waterzooi made with chicken, potatoes and cream

See also



  1. ^ Simple Chicken Soup Recipes
  2. ^ H. N. Rosen. "Chicken soup revisited: Calcium content of soup increases with duration of cooking". 
  3. ^ Rennard BO, Ertl RF, Gossman GL, Robbins RA, Rennard SI (October 2000). "Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro". Chest 118 (4): 1150–7.  
  4. ^ Parker-Pope, Tara (2007), “The Science of Chicken Soup” (12 October issue).
  5. ^ Condor, Bob (10 January 1996). "Strategies To Help You Survive The Cold Season". Chicago Tribune. 
  6. ^ "Danish Food Culture", Copenhagen Portal. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  7. ^ Gundel, Karoly (1992). Gundel's Hungarian cookbook. Budapest: Corvina.  page 27
  8. ^ June Meyers Authentic Hungarian Heirloon Recipes Cookbook
  9. ^ "Tasty Indonesian Food: Vegetables Soup (Sayur Sop)". Tasty Indonesian Food. 
  10. ^ The New York Times Soto Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Soup With Noodles and Aromatics) Adapted from “Cradle of Flavor” by James Oseland (W. W. Norton, 2006).
  11. ^ " Indonesian Chicken Noodle Soup (Soto Ayam)". 26 September 2006. 
  12. ^ Article: Chicken Soup-Culinary Poetry
  13. ^ Burros, Marian (7 February 2007). "What the Egg Was First". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  14. ^ " Warm Torijiru". 
  15. ^ Pakistani Chicken Corn Soup Recipe ( In Urdu Language )
  16. ^ :Chicken Soup Recipe English
  17. ^ : Pakistani Chicken Corn Syrup
  18. ^ : Simple Chicken Soup
  19. ^ Peruvian Cuisine: Recipe: Peruvian Caldo de Gallina (Chicken Soup)
  20. ^ Michman, Ronald D.; Mazze, Edward M. (1998). The Food Industry Wars. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 94.  

Further reading

  • Aish HaTorah Women’s Organization (1987). The Taste of Shabbos: The Complete Sabbath Cookbook. Jerusalem:Feldheim Publishers. ISBN 0-87306-426-7.
  • definitions and history of stock, broth, bouillon and consommé from various sources
  • , 1150-1157118. Chest. (2000). Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. et al.Rennard, BA, Ertl, RF, Gossman, GL,
  • (12)161. Canadian Medical Association JournalOhry, A, Tsafrir, J. (1999) Is Chicken Soup an Essential Drug?
  • Chicken soup revisited: Calcium content of soup increases with duration of cooking

External links

  • PBS article on Rennard’s study
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