Feel-Good Chicken Soup Recipes

When you were sick as a child, did your mom give you chicken soup? While not all home remedies are true remedies, in this case, mother did know best! There are actually reasons why chicken soup is a go-to food when you’re sick. Below, we will go over the benefits of eating chicken soup and some must-try recipes.

Why Is Chicken Soup a Good Remedy? 

A 2000 study from the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that chicken soup is an anti-inflammatory that can help alleviate symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. The chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, which thins mucus in the lungs. The vegetables can also contribute to easing cold and flu symptoms such as runny nose, cough, and sore throat. Here, we’ve put together a list of recipes to try whether you are sick or not!

Tom Yum Gai

Tom Yum Gai, or Thai chicken soup, is a flavorful option that will be a game-changer for your taste buds. This recipe from Hot Thai Kitchen includes kaffir lime leaves, stalks of lemongrass, fish sauce, and more. If this recipe is a little too adventurous for you, we recommend ordering it from your local Thai restaurant.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 350 grams chicken thighs, 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 heads shallots
  • 3-4 dried chilies (or substitute fresh chilies)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, bottom half only, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 5-6 rounds galangal
  • 5-6 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 2 heads shallots, cut in half vertically
  • 2 Tbsp tamarind juice
  • 200 grams oyster, straw or beech mushrooms
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halves, or regular tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2-3 Tbsp lime juice, depending on the acidity of your tamarind
  • ½-1 tsp sugar (you may or may not need this)
  • Salt as needed
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 3-4 leaves sawtooth coriander (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Bring 4 cups of stock to a boil in a medium pot.
  2. While the stock is heating, place the dried chilies on a sheet pan and, without preheating, broil them on low in the oven on the top rack. When the chilies puff up and start to darken in color, remove from heat and add them directly to the stockpot. If you want a spicier soup, break the chilies in half before adding.
  3. Turn the broiler up to high and broil the shallots, cut side up, until the edges are charred, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add them to the stockpot.
  4. Once the stock boils, add chicken, 2 Tbsp fish sauce, and simmer for 15 minutes until the chicken is fork-tender. Once the chicken is tender, add lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to infuse. Then, add 2 Tbsp tamarind juice, sugar, mushrooms, and tomatoes; bring the soup back to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in 2 Tbsp lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning with the remaining lime juice, fish sauce, and salt as needed.
  5. Stir in cilantro and sawtooth coriander just before serving.

Caldo de Pollo

Chicken soup made in Mexico is a little different from those made in the U.S. This caldo de pollo recipe includes bone-in chicken, garlic, zucchini, chayote, and other nutritious veggies.

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds chicken leg quarters
  • 2 gallons water
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4 zucchini, cut into large chunks
  • 1 chayote, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large white onion, cut into large chunks
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Place chicken legs into a large stockpot and pour water over chicken; add garlic, salt, and garlic powder. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until chicken meat falls off the bones, 1 to 2 hours. Stir in chicken bouillon cube and let dissolve.
  2. Mix carrots, potatoes, zucchini, chayote, and white onion in the broth, turn heat to medium-low, and cook soup at a low boil until carrots and potatoes are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir chopped cilantro into soup, simmer for 5 minutes, and serve.

Note: The pot should be covered with a lid at all times when you are not adding ingredients.

Matzo Ball Soup With Chicken

For traditional matzo ball soup, blogger Amy Kritzer of What Jew Wanna Eat says to include a whole chicken and chicken wings, celery, carrots, onion, homemade matzo balls, and other trimmings. If you aren’t prepared to make this version, find a good Jewish deli and pick up a serving.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp olive oil or schmaltz
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp seltzer
  • 1½ cups matzo meal
  • ¼ cup grated onion, dried well
  • 1 tsp baking powder (this gives you light and fluffy balls)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or ¼ teaspoon if using salted schmaltz)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 10 cups stock
  • 3 carrots, diced or cut into rounds
  • 3 parsnips, diced or cut into rounds
  • 3 celery stalks, diced or cut into slices
  • 1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh parsley or dill for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, schmaltz, and seltzer.
  2. Add matzo meal, onions, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Mix just until combined. Do not overmix.
  3. The mixture will be sticky, so refrigerate dough for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours, so it is not as sticky.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  5. Shape the matzo mixture into 25 or so 1-inch balls, and place in the water. Cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until puffed up and cooked through.
  6. Heat up your broth separately, then add carrots, parsnips, celery, any other veggies you choose, and chicken, and simmer covered for 10 minutes until the veggies are tender. Serve with balls!
  7. Add salt to taste and garnish with parsley or dill.

Radauti Sour Soup

This Romanian chicken soup recipe from Romanian Cook includes bone-in chicken, parsley root, sour cream, egg yolks, vinegar, tarragon, and a variety of veggies. It is full of mouthwatering flavor and is bound to be a new favorite in your home.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken with bones (chicken backs)
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 parsley roots
  • ½ celery root
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 500 grams sour cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Put the chicken parts in an 8-liter pot in cold water (almost full pot) to boil over high heat.
  2. After 15 to 20 minutes, skim off the scum.
  3. Add the whole onions, well washed, unpeeled.
  4. On low heat, cover with a lid and boil for 1 hour.
  5. After this hour, add the vegetables, whole, peeled and washed.
  6. Boil for 20 minutes.
  7. Strain the soup, set aside the vegetables and meat to cool off. Throw away the onions.
  8. Pick the meat from the bones, dice the vegetables, and put them back in the soup. Add the mashed garlic.
  9. In a large bowl, mix the sour cream with egg yolks and 1 Tbsp of salt. Add gradually a bit of soup, while mixing, until the mixture becomes hot to avoid breaking the emulsion.
  10. Add it to the soup while mixing.
  11. Add 5-6 Tbsp vinegar, tarragon, pepper, and salt if needed.
  12. Turn off the heat. Your sour soup is ready.
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