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Your "Get Well" Chicken Soup

Hi all! After a few days of dealing with a nasty head cold I'm ready to eat again! I've been craving chicken soup, but want something more interesting than the chicken noodle variety. What's your go-to feel better chicken soup recipe?

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  1. My rustic version of chicken soup includes premade chicken stock, slices of celery, carrots, turnips, roasted chicken pieces, fresh slice of ginger, 1 garlic clove, a few sprigs of fresh dill, salt & pepper. Since the chicken is already roasted and sliced I add that at the very end just to warm through. I also will run a pot of fine egg noodles to add to the individual soup bowls (not the pot). Feel better!

    4 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      Tom kha ( and if you're getting it from a Thai restaurant, go ahead and get it a little spicier than usual, just to irradiate the old sinus cavity...and trust me, medium is pretty darn spicy), hot & sour chicken soup, or mulligatawny...you need some heat to clear your head. Tom kha is my all-time cure-all...very soothing for your sore throat, too. (Not too hard to make from scratch if you have an Asian market nearby...and if you're sick and want to take it easy, Lobo makes a more-than-adequate seasoning packet that works as a shortcut...it's saltier than homemade, but you can use slightly less of the packet than recommended in the instructions if salty bothers you).

      1. re: tonifi

        I second the hot and sour, my standby take-out for a congested head or chest.

        Therapeutic soup, however, is more effective if someone else makes it. Garrison Keillor has a touching story about being new to the big city and suffering from flu. The doctor tells him to stay in bed, and to come back in 3 days for a re-check. Afraid to call in sick to a new job, he drags himself to work. The second night, there is a knock on his door. A woman introduces herself as his neighbor across the hall, explains that she has heard him coughing as he walks down the hall, and presents him with a container of hot soup. Alone again, though he has little desire for food, he swallows a few spoonfuls, and begins to feel a little better. He eats a whole bowl, feeling his congestion clear. The next day, the doctor is amazed at his quick recovery. When he arrives back home later, he knocks on the neighbor's door and tells her how much the soup helped, asking her for the recipe so he can make it himself next time he is sick. She replies, "Oh, YOU can't make it - someone has to make it FOR you!"

        1. re: greygarious

          Love this.

          I second the hot and sour. Often available by delivery, and often spicy.

          1. re: greygarious

            What a great story, I will be repeating it next time I share.

            I always add lots of ginger and garlic (you will see it mentioned several times below) as I hear those are two medicinal must-haves. A lot of pepper or some hot sauce can't hurt either. And I usually put cavatelli in mine, one time that was all I had and it was a big hit!

      2. I’ve used grilled chicken thighs cut up into bite sized chunks, chicken stock, celery, onions, carrots, mushrooms and parsley with some added lemon juice served over orzo when I want a simple twist.

        I never add rice or pasta to my soups when I make a big batch as I freeze a portion of the soups and want the pasta to remain non-mushy.

        I usually will make the orzo/pasta/rice to order then put some in each bowl while plating and pour the soup over it…………..but that is just me.

        What about a thai twist?

        1. Chicken broth, ginger, lime, jalapeno, carrots, noodles. Cures what ails ya.

          1. I have two recommendations. One is a spicy tamarind and chili chicken soup made with leafy greens (sinampalukan). It's very satisfying when you are congested. The other is best for unsettled stomachs or when chewing is difficult, a very wet congee made from chicken, ginger and garlic chips (arroz caldo). Both are very simple and can easily be put together with minimal effort.

            3 Replies
            1. re: JungMann

              Second the arroz caldo! Tradition for illness in my Filipino family. Lots of ginger, and I add fried garlic to the bowl just before eating. I eat this when I have the flu, a cold, or a stomach sickness. It always makes me feel loads better. Of course, someone else has to make it for you. I made it for myself once and it didn't do much for me.

              1. re: Moochoux

                I think I prefer tinola, which is even easier to make. For those unfamiliar with Filipino food, it is a simple chicken and ginger soup, with green papaya as a common ingredient.

                1. re: FoodPopulist

                  Tinola is delicious, but is a seasonal delicacy to me. I'll make it in the autumn after the pepper harvest so I can use the leaves off all my chili plants to flavor the soup.

            2. I make basically normal chicken soup (chicken, stock, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, egg noodles, etc). But then right at the end I had reckless amounts of dill and parsley. Super awesome. Both warming and refreshing at once.

              1 Reply
              1. re: luciaannek

                thank you for the recklessness with the herbs. ;) I am with you on that!

              2. I have a great one -- it's a silky lemony chicken noodle soup with fresh basil. I throw in a few cheese tortellini as my noodle, and I use my own homemade stock and lemon-roasted chicken breasts. So, like HillJ, the chicken is already roasted and added at the end. I prefer the taste of the chicken this way, and b/c I roast with lemon under the skin, it's a double-lemon soup. I sometimes caramelize some shallots, then puree those with a cup or so of my broth. Deep, delicious flavors, yet light at the same time. I grate a little bit of high-quality Parmesan over each bowl :)

                1. If I'm really sick and don't feel like cooking, but I need something warm and soothing, I pour a good chicken stock into a large mug or bowl, add salt/pepper, and microplane in a clove of garlic and about 1/2 inch of fresh ginger, and throw it in the microwave for 3 minutes. Also beef stock, salt/pepper, a sprig of fresh or dried thyme, and microplaned garlic. The thyme comes out just before eating. Delicious broth and back to bed.

                  1. My get better soon chicken soup is a tomato and chicken stock base full of shredded chicken, brown rice and sweetcorn with plenty of chillis. Gets the sinuses working again in no time.

                    1. I make my chicken soup with a rotisserie chicken, using carcass with leg meat left on. Simmer with a halved onion, whole garlic, cut in half. Break a couple of carrots, celery stalks in half. Add water, bay leaf, salt, red and black pepper. Cook for a couple hours, strain. Pick chicken apart, set aside.. Toss veggies and carcass. Then saute chopped celery, carrots and onion. Add (strained) chicken stock, simmer for 1/2 hr. Add 1 head of chopped broccoli rabe or escarole and chix back into soup. Cook for 15 more minutes. Make orzo during the last 15 min of simmering soup. Add some orzo to bottom of bowl and ladle soup over top. Sprinkle generously with good parm cheese.


                      1. I like a makeshift pho. Chicken broth, hoisin or oyster sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, chicken, sometimes a little rice vinegar and brown sugar, and a pinch of pumpkin pie spice. I usually use linguine sized rice noodles and don't bother to brown the chicken

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jvanderh

                          Omg, thank you so much for posting a faux pho broth! I love the broth so much but I don't have the inclination to do the full on homemade variety. I usually just order extra broth from my favorite pho takeout, but this is perfect for when I don't want the rest of the accoutrements.

                        2. A whole chicken, lots of carrot, garlic, ginger onions and black pepper. Chicken shredded into broth after being simmered for a long time. orzo.

                          1. I slow simmer about a dozen chicken wings with the usual other things for a few hours. The broth stays clear and the wings add a lot of collagen. I then take out the wings and set aside the meat only. Just before serving I add the chicken meat, some egg noodles el dente, thin sliced ginger and lots of garlic which I have gently sauteed in their skins in a bit of butter. (It only takes a couple of minutes and the garlic cloves pop out easily from their skins when cooled enough to handle.) A few drops of fish sauce and light soy and one drop of sesame oil. Top with some Italian parsley

                            1. I do a version inspired by tom yum. Lemongrass, galangal, shallot, garlic, simmer about 20 minutes, add fish sauce, chili paste, sliced boneless chicken. Take off heat, add fresh lime juice and cilantro. Add rice noodles (I soak them while the soup is cooking).

                              1. When I have it on hand, I use a base of home made really strong/concentrated turkey and chicken stock (usually parts of both birds end up in the pot.)

                                I simmer that with a LOT of chopped garlic (I keep a jar of chopped in the fridge for those "I need garlic/don't posses strength of will to stand for more than ten seconds to prep it), there probably ends up being 1 or 2 tablespoons of it in the broth, as well as a dried ancho chile and a good deal of fresh/jarred ginger. Sometimes I add a little rice and let it cook up really soft. Once it's off the heat for a minute or two, I crack an egg in for the protein and stuff. It's like a wonderful liquid food.

                                1. Mine makes a very clear broth, and a good meal, and is the easiest thing you can imagine...

                                  1 whole fresh chicken, cut into pieces.
                                  Boil these rapidly for a minute or so in water just to cover, then rinse in cold water, getting all the blood and grey bits out.
                                  Replace these in a pot with lots of fresh clean water, bring to almost a boil, then turn the heat way down so it barely bubbles at all.
                                  Simmer gently for about 45 mins, adding 5-6 peeled carrots cut into 2-inch chunks, 2 quartered onions, 3 bay leaves, 2 ribs celery cut into big chunks, salt to taste.

                                  If you want, a pinch or two of "Vegeta" is a hit at my house.

                                  Skim the soup at it simmers.

                                  Serve, with snipped fresh dill, if you like. Bread and butter and done!

                                  1. If I'm actually sick, I usually go super basic. I poach a couple chicken breasts in some chicken stock (hopefully homemade, but I'm not opposed to store bought). In my soup pot, I sauté onions, carrots, and celery in butter. Add a little bit of garlic, and possibly a bit of white wine if I've got it. I remove the chicken from the stock, add the warm stock to the soup pot, then shred the chicken and add that too. Simmer it for awhile while standing near the stove because the steam feels so good. Then I add the egg noodles and serve right away.

                                    1. A good squeeze of lemon in whatever chicken soup you've got makes all the difference, even makes canned soup better if you don't feel like messing around with making your own.

                                      1. I go real basic soup, homemade stock, whole chicken, etc... but near the end of the cooking time I put one raw egg yolk per person and let them cook in the broth. Don't stir until they have set. YUM.

                                        1. i haven't made this in a while but this used to be my go-to asian styled chicken soup and it's crockpot friendly!
                                          i am an eye-baller as well.
                                          in the crockpot i throw in diced onion, carrot, celery, minced garlic and ginger, fresh chili peppers any herbs and spices that seem appealing from my pantry (fresh is better but i rarely buy herbs) a spoonful or two of soy sauce, lime juice, sriracha, red wine vinegar (any kind will do) and a dash of sesame oil and honey and enough chicken broth to fill the crock pot and let that go on high for about 2 hours, all the veggies should be slightly cooked through then i add cooked asian marinated chicken (sometimes i will specifically buy chicken on a stick from my local chinese place, chop it up and add that in)., let it go another hour or two till you can't stand the delicious small anymore, taste and reseason if needed. enjoy!
                                          i don't add any rice or noodle to it but definitely a good option to throw in some cooked carb in to the serving bowl before eating. i wouldn't add it in advance cause leftovers will suck up the soup.

                                          1. My comfort chicken soup is a good homemade chicken stock with matzah balls instead of noodles! They are not hard to make. If you want something a little more exotic and spicy, try making a tortilla soup by adding tomatoes and plenty of hot chiles and some cumin to your chicken stock, along with some onions, beans or leftover chicken and top with some corn tortilla strips, cilantro, avocado...anything you want. You'll probably want to skip cheese since you're sick.

                                            Also, I like to make Southern-style greens with a lot of chicken stock, so it's more like a soup--stock, bacon or ham hock, red pepper, onion, cider vinegar and plenty of collards, kale, mustard greens, or any mixture of good hearty greens. Delicious broth and I feel good getting all that nutritious green stuff into me when I'm sick. (Or when I'm not sick...)

                                            1. Last time I was sick I did homemade chicken broth with miso, lots of ginger and scallions, shredded kale, tofu and sweet potatoes. It was really good, very nutritious, and easy to make.

                                              I also love spicy korean soups when sick (hearty broth, miso, lots of garlic, lots of chili) but I don't know how to make them at home.

                                              My top ingredients for fighting sickness are: meat broth (especially chicken, but beef can be good too), garlic, ginger, chilies, miso, kale, lemon and parsley.