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Help me make my chicken soup special

I have a large container of homemade chicken stock defrosting in my fridge right now. I asked my husband if he wanted risotto or chicken soup for dinner tomorrow night. He said chicken soup.

I could get some chicken meat, some carrots, some celery...*snore*. What can I do to jazz it up? What would you add?

Keep in mind he hates parsnips and sweet potatoes and I hate peas and lima beans.

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  1. Escarole and pasta with parmesan grated on top. Wonderful.

    1. toss in a handful or two of baby spinach, some sliced scallions and grate in some fresh ginger.

      3 Replies
      1. re: wonderwoman

        How about some Chinese dumplings?

        BTW, there was a discussion a while back and more than one person recommended against using stock for risotto and it can be too intensely flavored. Some people only use water. FWIW.

        1. re: c oliver

          I consider the stock what makes the risotto flavorful....what do you get with water?

          1. re: escondido123

            I've never made it with water but there's the butter, onion, wine and cheese :)

      2. I improvise a pot of soup every week. Today's was homemade chicken stock with navy beans, thin-sliced napa cabbage, onion, Chinese garlic greens, carrots, tomato paste, cubed cooked chicken, and rice wine vinegar.

        1. How about Avgolemono, the Greek chicken lemon soup, Good and easy.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Quine

            Just what I was going to say. Enough of a chicken soup that you can enjoy your homemade stock, but a bit more exciting. Spanokopita on the side!

            1. re: katecm

              I think you touched on a good point. I don't use my homemade stock for just anything. If there are a lot of intense flavors going on I kinda don't want to "waste" it. I know there's more to stock than just the taste, but that's still how I feel. I hoard it for when it will shine.

          2. Make some tiny meatballs with ground beef, green onions, basil and a litlte parmesan. Bake them to get rid of some fat (keeps the soup from getting cloudy), then throw them into your stock with some grated lemon zest, spinach and orzo. Grate some parm over each serving.

            1 Reply
            1. Make Chicken & Sausage Gumbo!


              1 Reply
              1. re: Uncle Bob

                That's our dinner plan for tomorrow. YUM.

                But I came in to suggest lemongrass as a quick pick,meup to plain jane chicken noodle soup, plus sriracha on the table for added zing.

              2. onion and fresh herbs, pref. dill and parsley. And whatever else he likes...noodles, rice, matzo balls. I agree with Quine too, the Greek lemon soup is the best.

                1. Cubed browned chourico, shredded kale (minus the stalk), cubed potatoes, a can of white beans rinsed, browned minced onion and garlic, lemon juice and lemon zest. Very tasty. I think the Portuguese call it Caldo Verde

                  1. A little garlic never hurts anything!

                    1. Well, if he requested chicken soup, I would make it very chickeny, for one -- good bullion added judiciously isn't a bad thing for soup (or gravy in chicken pot pie.) And a slight thickness -- called "mouthfeel" though I hate that word -- can be achieved with just a very little cornstarch if your stock is thin. Old fashioned ideas, I suppose. And use the best noodles you can get or make. Or dumplings or rice if he prefers. And personally if I didn't have celery and carrots in chicken soup I'd miss those colors!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: blue room

                        Chicken stock as opposed to chicken broth should have all the "mouth feel" necessary. Mine is absolutely solid until I heat it. Boullion would be unnecessary IMO.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I know, I know, mine solidifies overnight in the fridge too, but I always think it needs a boost--maybe it's just the salt I like.

                          1. re: blue room

                            That very well could be. I use no seasonings or vegetables when making my stock so it does need flavor added. But that's why I make it that way - so I can add the particular flavors I want. Sacrilege to some but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

                      2. A big fistful of fresh tarragon always brings chicken soup to life for me.

                        1. I like ginger, lots of chicken, spinach and egg noodles cooked in the soup so they release some starch.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: magiesmom

                            Reminder to not add the spinach until the very, very end.

                          2. Lots of posts about what to add, but for a really restorative chicken soup, I delete. There is nothing like a bowl of chicken broth that is just chicken broth, reduced, with a bit of ginger and just enough seasoning such as salt or fish sauce. Maybe a few scallions for crunch.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: smtucker

                              Agreed. I have only recently discovered what a simple wow factor fish sauce can give.

                              1. re: smtucker

                                Ooo, yeah. Ginger sounds nice. I've used lemongrass and a few hot pepper flakes in my broth before but I'll try the ginger.

                                1. re: ChicagoAmy

                                  I like to lightly char the ginger before adding it. It's traditional in Vietnamese cooking, but delicious anytime.

                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    No has said matzo ball yet?? Mmm

                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                      plus one :) I made pho for the first time recently and the charred ginger was very nice.

                                2. A Lao friend of mine used to make a wonderful chicken & rice soup called Kao piek. Basically chicken soup with rice topped with fried garlic, cilantro, scallions, chili powder and a squeeze of lime. My friend used to use a bit of msg, but I think with a well-developed stock, you wouldn't need it. I also believe most people tend to use the wide rice noodles, but I really liked the rice.