I wrote a book about chicken soup. It all started when I was super sick and traveling home from a work trip. I came home to a pot of chicken soup on my porch. My sister had left it there. I immediately ate three bowls. It was the greatest gift and made my world better that day. Inspired by that, here are six ways that chicken soup can make the world a better place.
Chicken soup heals the body.
When you are sick, when you are hungry, when you are worn out, there’s nothing like a hot bowl of chicken soup to hit the spot. Whether it is the miracle of “Jewish penicillin” or Saoto
, Suriname’s hangover cure, there is something magical about eating a bowl of this sweet and salty broth. The restorative properties of chicken soup are a common thread across the world.
Chicken soup brings people together.
Globally, chicken is a protein most cultures have access to. Based on many basic and humble ingredients found in each part of the world, national and regional expressions of this soup convey flavors specific to the people who have made it a staple of their cuisine. We are brought together by understanding the similarities and differences between people and cultures around the world by one central ingredient: a simple chicken. Consider a big pot of Cazuela Gaucho
, fit for a large family or a special gathering.
Chicken soup is the frugal cook’s best friend.
Chicken soup doesn’t cost much to make. The whole carcass can be used (meat, bones, skin, liver, heart, etc.) and one chicken can easily make two meals for a family. In many countries chickens wander the perimeter of the home and are raised domestically for food. Supa de Pui cu Galuste de Gris
, Romania’s equivalent to matzo ball soup, typifies this frugality and simplicity. The cost is modest, and the result is great.
Chicken soup is good for our Earth.
Chicken grows and matures quickly, keeping its needs for food resources low and its measure of sustainability high. There is little waste from the entire animal’s body. And, when raised thoughtfully, chicken is a protein with a small carbon footprint. Choosing not to cook with the skins? Make gribenes
or chicken skin crisps!
Chicken soup warms you on a cold day.
There is nothing quite so warming as simple chicken broth when you just cannot shake a chilly day. The broth can be in the form of soup, made into a single stock, or a double stock. The well-loved drink of bone broth (stock, broth) is good for your skin, nails, hair and everything else. Simmer a bit of double stock with garlic and ginger, then enjoy it like an afternoon cup of tea.
Chicken soup satisfies your taste buds, spreads happiness, and helps you exude love.
When you are happy, your share your happiness. When you feel good, your life is happier, more manageable, and you exude that in all of your relationships. It is easier to be more compassionate and empathetic when you are nourished and balanced. One of my favorite soups in The Chicken Soup Manifesto
, the one that creates that kind of “chocolate chip cookie”-type of satisfaction for me, is Terbiyeli Sehriyeli Tavuk Corbasi
. A chicken soup from Turkey, enriched with yogurt and finished with chili butter. Yes, please.
Terbiyeli Sehriyeli Tavuk Corbasi (Photo courtesy of Hardie Grant)
Terbiyeli Sehriyeli Tavuk Corbasi
1.9 liters (64 fl oz/8 cups) water or Chicken Stock
2 × whole chicken legs (approx. 670 g/1 1⁄2 lb), leg and thigh attached, skin on
1 yellow onion, cut into 2 cm (3⁄4 in) cubes
2 carrots, cut into large pieces
3 parsley sprigs
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt
100 g (3 1⁄2 oz/1⁄2 cup) white long-grain rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
15 g (1⁄2 oz) butter
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili paste, such as harissa
1 tablespoon all-purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons dried mint
225g (8 oz/1 1⁄4 cups) canned chickpeas, drained
Count on chickpeas for protein, chili paste for warmth, and long-grain rice for heft in this soup. I like using thighs in this recipe because they can cook longer and remain tender and flavorful. The chili paste is the hallmark, even though some recipes omit it. (Chili paste can vary in intensity, so it is best to use to taste.) This is one of the most filling, satisfying, and complex dishes in the Turkish soup lexicon.
Place the water or stock, chicken, onion, carrots, parsley, bay leaves, black peppercorns, and salt in a large pot over a medium-high heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the meat separates from the end of the leg bone. Remove the chicken from the pot and strain the broth, discarding the vegetables. Pour the broth back into the pot, add the rice and simmer
gently for 5–7 minutes, or until the rice is almost tender.
When the chicken is cool, using your hands, shred the meat into small pieces and discard the bones. Set the meat aside.
While the rice is cooking, combine the oil, butter, tomato paste, chili paste, flour, and mint in a small pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until combined and slightly darker in color. Scrape the mixture into the soup, then add the chicken and chickpeas. Return the soup to a gentle simmer and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the rice is tender. Season with lemon juice and salt
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has enjoyed a culinary career spanning more than two decades. She has owned several highly acclaimed Portland restaurants, as well as a wildly successful full-service catering company. Jenn has competed on Bravo's Top Chef Masters, was named one of Food and Wine's Best New Chefs in 2012, and her simple, sophisticated cooking style, championing seasonal Pacific Northwest U.S. ingredients, has earned her two nominations for the James Beard Foundation Award of Best Chef: Northwest. Her debut cookbook, Pasta by Hand
, published in 2015, was nominated for an IACP International Association of Culinary Professionals award. Her second book, The Book of Greens
, won an IACP Award in 2017. The Chicken Soup Manifesto
is her latest book.