Origin and the History of Chicken Soup
Soup is considered a hearty and healthy meal all over the world and is a staple food for many people. Soup has an interesting history and as per archaeologists, humans were consuming it 20,000 years ago. It is believed that they used clay pots to cook vegetables, meat and herbs. The contents were boiled over heat using hot rocks. Coming to the history of chicken soup, ever since the domestication of fowl happened around 10,000 years ago, chicken soup has become famous in Southeast Asia. The soup ingredients saw a lot of additions and subtractions and that changed the flavours of the soup. The soup ingredients were dictated by the seasons. Meats were preserved during winter by sun-drying them in summer. But since eating only meat would become boring, they changed it by adding various grains, vegetables and even fruits that were available in summer.
Types of Chicken Soup
The chicken soup recipe has many variations but ideally, a soup is something that is liquidy and served thin. It may have a few vegetables and pieces of meat. However, chicken soup has seen an evolution and to cater to different palates, there are a few types of chicken soup that is popular:
The Cream of chicken soup: It is unlike the normal chicken soup recipe as it is thick and creamy. It is made with pieces of chicken and stock that are mixed with cream or flour and may or may not contain vegetable chunks.
Chicken noodle soup: This is another popular version of chicken soup, in this chicken soup recipe, noodles are added to the chicken broth. This dish becomes a wholesome meal by itself and is nutritious too due to the presence of chicken pieces and broth.
Chicken Soup in different Cultures
The chicken soup ingredients used are all healthy and in some cultures, it is considered medicine to cure infections like cold and also bronchitis. Jews also rate the chicken soup highly and consider it as an alternative for penicillin. The chicken soup ingredients and the way it is made varies based on the culture.
In the United Kingdom, the chicken soup is very watery and has some chunks of chicken and other vegetables like onion, carrot, etc which is spiced with pepper. However, in Scotland, a popular version is the cock-a-leekie soup where there are shreds of chicken and leeks.
Chicken noodles soup is popular in the United States and Canada and is traditionally prepared using hens which are cooked over the flame for a short time.
Chicken broth-based soups are popular in China. An elaborate version is to use freshly hen and seasoned with herbs and boiled for a long time. While the quicker version of the chicken soup recipe is seasoning the hen with pepper, soy sauce, scallions of ginger and boiled.
French serve the chicken soup using chicken broth either as a thin version or a concentrated form and seasoned with thyme, bay leaves, garlic and white wine. The chicken soup is made from Bouillon De Poulet or Bouillon which is nothing but chicken broth.
A hen called the Suppenhuhn or the soup hen is used to make chicken soup in Germany. In some parts of the country, the chicken broth is added with dumplings or noodles.
Italy known for its pasta dishes often has chicken soup with pasta. The interesting part of chicken soup here is that sometimes, the chicken and the vegetables are removed and served as a dish.
It is a traditional dish for the Jewish communities of Russia and Poland and the chicken stock is made from bones. The soup is served with Matzah balls, flat egg noodles or dumplings.
Closer home in India, the chicken soup also has many versions where the chicken broth is spiced with green chillies, peppercorns, etc.
Choosing Chicken for Chicken Soupe
One of the things to know even before learning how to make chicken soup is to pick the best chicken for it. Some of the things to consider are:
To make the soup flavorful use the older chicken like the boiler, rooster or pullet.
A packaged whole chicken that is fresh can be brought from a store and the meat can be removed when cooking is completed. Organic skinless breasts can also be used if you are on a diet or health-conscious.
If you are buying it from a local butcher then ask for a soup hen that is at least 16 weeks old. The older the hen the better the flavour.
If you are thinking of making the chicken noodles soup then use the chicken thighs. They are tender and delicious even after simmering. Use the bones to make the chicken broth taste better.
Tips to Make a Perfect Chicken Soupe
The chicken soup for the cold is comforting even when you are not sick. However when you search for how to make chicken soup many recipes come up. Follow any of them but also consider these tips to make this tasty soup taste even better.
Make the chicken stock first irrespective of the chicken soup recipe you follow and then add the ingredients of your choice like the chicken, noodles, vegetables, etc.
Ensure that the chicken broth or the stock that you use is flavorful. The broth is the main source of flavour and hence make sure it is flavoured right.
The cooking time of each ingredient varies, some cook faster than others. While cooking ingredients use the one that takes longer first so that everything gets cooked evenly.
Chop vegetables in a reasonable size, else it becomes difficult to eat using a spoon. Even the greens that you use should be chopped to make it easy to eat. Also, try to chop all the veggies to the same size.
Whether it is the chicken clear soup or the noodles soup, once it has come to a boil, simmer it. Boiling it on high heat makes the vegetables mushy, the meat hard and the noodles will start to break.
Season the chicken beforehand, brown it in a pan and bake in the oven. When you want to make the soup, chop them and add it as the last ingredient. Do not overcook the chicken as it can ruin your soup.
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