Chicken soup

Chicken soup
A common chicken soup variation, with egg noodles and cubed carrots
Homemade chicken soup with elbow macaroni, chicken pieces, carrots and celery
Chicken soup with dark, leafy greens
Southern Chinese style chicken soup with mushrooms and corn pieces, Singapore

Chicken soup is a soup made by bringing to a boil and then simmering chicken parts and/or bones in water, with various vegetables and flavorings. The classic chicken soup consists of a clear broth, often served with small pieces of chicken or vegetables, or with noodles or dumplings, or grains such as rice and barley. Chicken soup has also acquired the reputation of a folk remedy for colds and flus, and in many countries is considered a classic comfort food.

Traditionally, chicken soup is prepared using old hens too tough and stringy to be roasted or cooked for a short time. In modern cities these fowl are difficult to come by, and broiler chickens (young chickens suitable for broiling or roasting) are often used to make soup; soup hens or fowl are to be preferred when available.



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.[1] 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."[2]

Chicken soup in different cultures


Hungarian chicken soup is a clear soup, a consommé, called even Ùjházi chicken soup.[3] 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[4] and parsnip.


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.[5] Another chicken soup variant commonly found across the country is soto ayam;[6] a turmeric yellow spicy chicken soup with vegetables and noodle or vermicelli, served with steamed rice, pieces of lontong or ketupat.[7]


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.[8]

Ashkenazi Jews living in shtetls were often very poor, but chicken-raising required few resources.[8] Most Jewish families would try to acquire at least one chicken for Shabbat and try to make the most of it, using as much of the chicken as they could. Dishes such as chopped liver, helzel (stuffed chicken neck), gribenes (crackling made from fat and skin), pupik (roasted gizzards), p'tcha (chicken feet) were born of poverty-driven necessity. Chicken fat was rendered into schmaltz and used for cooking. The remaining carcass was used to prepare the soup.

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.[9] Modern health standards make these difficult to obtain now.

Chicken soup in history and media

Waterzooi made with chicken, potatoes and cream
  • When Manilal Gandhi, son of Mahatma Gandhi, contracted typhoid and pneumonia, a doctor recommended chicken soup and eggs. As strict vegetarians, his parents would not agree to this, but Manilal received treatment and recovered.
  • Chicken soup is mentioned in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden: "And Tom brought him chicken soup until he wanted to kill him. The lore has not died out of the world, and you will still find people who believe that soup will cure any hurt or illness and is no bad thing to have for the funeral either."
  • Both Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup with Rice and his animated film and stage production Really Rosie (with music by Carole King) make multiple references to the dish.
  • There is a series of books entitled Chicken Soup for the Soul.
  • Chicken Soup was the title of a short-lived 1989 ABC sitcom starring Jackie Mason.
  • "Chicken Noodle Soup" is a popular children’s song by Gibbs promoting Campbell’s chicken noodle soup.
  • Chicken Noodle Soup” featuring Young B. was made into a popular hip-hop song by DJ Webstar.


A homemade chicken soup with bread

The chicken flavor of the soup is most potent when the chicken is simmered in water with salt and only a few vegetables, such as a mirepoix of onion, carrots, and celery.[citation needed] 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 film of congealed 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.

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.[10] 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".[11]

See also


  1. ^ Rennard BO, Ertl RF, Gossman GL, Robbins RA, Rennard SI (October 2000). "Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro". Chest 118 (4): 1150–7. doi:10.1378/chest.118.4.1150. PMID 11035691. 
  2. ^ Parker-Pope, Tara (2007), “The Science of Chicken Soup” (Oct 12 issue).
  3. ^ Gundel, Karoly (1992). Gundel's Hungarian cookbook. Budapest: Corvina. ISBN 963-13-3600-X. OCLC 32227400. page 27
  4. ^ June Meyers Authentic Hungarian Heirloon Recipes Cookbook
  5. ^ Tasty Indonesian Food: Vegetables Soup (Sayur Sop)
  6. ^ 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).
  7. ^ Indonesian Chicken Noodle Soup (Soto Ayam)
  8. ^ a b Article: Chicken Soup-Culinary Poetry
  9. ^ Burros, Marian (2007-02-07). "What the Egg Was First". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Chicken soup revisited: Calcium content of soup increases with duration of cooking

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Chicken\ Soup — A solution to something, works without any real understanding of why. (Chicken soup helps you get better from colds, but no one knows why.) Hey, my Mac is messed up. It won t work. Try re building your desktop, it s chicken soup …   Dictionary of american slang

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  • chicken soup — soup made with poultry, warm liquid food made from boiling chicken meat in water …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Chicken Soup with Barley — Hühnersuppe mit Graupen Tag für Tag Nächstes Jahr in Jerusalem (engl. Chicken Soup with Barley Roots I m Talking about Jerusalem) ist eine Dramentrilogie von Arnold Wesker. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Uraufführungen 2 Thema 3 Handlung 4 Literatur 4.1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • chicken soup — noun soup made from chicken broth • Hypernyms: ↑soup …   Useful english dictionary

  • List of Chicken Soup For the Soul Books — Chicken Soup for the Soul is a series of books, usually featuring a collection of short, inspirational stories and motivational essays. The 101 stories in the first book of the series were compiled by motivational speakers Jack Canfield and Mark… …   Wikipedia

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