Chicken soup is one of the more well-known and universal soups of the world. Mothers worldwide have armed themselves with chicken soup to heal the sick, soothe the weary soul and to warm the bones on cold and miserable nights. Even the pristine labs of scientists have tinkered with chicken soups testing its power.

The beauty of chicken soup is its versatility, where you can add and remove nearly any ingredient (with the exception to the chicken that is). The range of ingredients that work well with chicken soup is mind-boggling and all dependant on personal taste.

SpicesCredit: fitforfood

It can be served as a clear broth with vegetables and chicken in it; it can be served as a thick and hearty stew that needs only a bun added to make it a meal; it can even be served as just a broth with nothing else in it.

Below is the first part of a two-part series and within this series you will find recipes from all over the world: Korea, Israel, Thailand, Italy, Greece, Mexico, Indian and Colombia.

Italian Chicken Soup

Not To Be Confused With Roman Egg Drop Soup

An Italian chicken soup with spinach and eggs known as Stracciatella. It's very similar to Roman egg drop soup.

Even though it looks 'funny' and not like a traditional chicken soup - egg in soup!, it's a flavourful and filling soup that is oddly hearty.

And like all chicken soups can be modified to include whatever your little heart desires - I've seen sausage and ham used, as well as a variety of veggies like broccoli.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken broth

  • 2 Large Eggs

  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

  • 1 cup lightly packed spinach leaves cut in thin strips

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

  2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, cheese, parsley, and basil to blend.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

  4. Stir the broth in a circular motion. Gradually drizzle the egg mixture into the moving broth, stirring gently with a fork to form thin strands of egg, about 1 minute.

  5. Stir in the spinach

  6. Season the soup, to taste, with salt and pepper.

  7. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Stracciatella SoupCredit: marthastewart

Israeli Chicken Soup

Affectionately Known As Jewish Penicillin

The chicken soup in Israel is the 'original' healers soup and the one that was tested in a lab to see just how it worked.

This unique recipe from Tel Aviv packs parsnip, Italian parsley and fresh thyme into a flavourful broth. The addition of Matzo balls allows the chicken soup to be served as a hearty dinner.

Variations include the chicken de-boned and added back into this recipe for a heartier dish. Some versions include peas, carrots and vermicelli.

These additions to the recipe should be cooked in a separate pot before adding to soup to retain soup clarity and texture. Matzo balls can be cooked in soup broth before serving.

Jewish PenecillinCredit: finecooking

Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 lbs chicken parts - For the Soup

  • 2 large carrots broken in to pieces - For the Soup

  • 1 peeled onion large and quartered - For the Soup

  • 2 stalks celery quartered - For the Soup

  • 1 med unpeeled parsnip quartered - For the Soup

  • 8 sprigs fresh Italian parsley - For the Soup

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme - For the Soup

  • 1 tb salt - For the Soup

  • 2 tsp peppercorns black - For the Soup

  • 3/4 cup Matzo meal - For the Matzo Balls

  • 3 tb softened butter - For the Matzo Balls

  • 3 tb parsley chopped fine - For the Matzo Balls

  • 1/3 tsp black pepper - For the Matzo Balls

  • 1 garlic clove minced - For the Matzo Balls

  • 2 eggs - For the Matzo Balls

  • ½ tsp salt - For the Matzo Balls

  • 1 1/3 tsp ginger grated - For the Matzo Balls

Heavier Israel Chicken SoupCredit: noshonInstructions

        Making the Soup

  1. Add all ingredients, aside from Matzo balls, to a large stock pot and cover with water.

  2. Turn heat to medium and steep - never boiling.

  3. When the water is just about to boil, quickly move heat to low and cover.Simmer soup on low heat for 4 hours - a crock pot could be used for this step.

  4. Turn off heat and remove chicken and vegetables and toss in garbage if not reusing, set aside if reusing.

  5. Add salt to taste and strain if desired.

    Making the Matzo Balls

  6. Melt 1 tsp butter in skillet over medium heat.

  7. Beat eggs for scrambling.

  8. Cook the scrambled eggs adding salt, ginger, pepper, garlic and parsley along the way.

  9. Mix Matzo meal and remaining butter into egg mixture.

  10. Add about ¼ the water to create firm dough.

  11. Form into balls the size of walnuts.

  12. Simmer in chicken soup or broth for 10 minutes.

  13. To serve simply ladle soup into a ball and add a matzo ball or two.

Mexican Chicken Soup

Tortilla Soup With A Little Kick

Tortillas are common leftovers in Mexico, and are re-used in a number of creative ways. Here, tortillas are deep-fried and added to a rich chicken soup. Often chilies or tomatoes are added to turn the broth red and make it extra delicious.

The peppers in this dish can be Anaheim poblano or jalapeño or any combination of your personal favourites. Add as many or as little as you like depending on the hotness and flavour desired.

Mexican Tortilla SoupCredit: Foodasalens

If starting with raw chicken, prepare the chicken how you would for a regular chicken soup. It will add at least an hour or two to cook time, but I find adds a rich flavour. I really like corn in this soup but prefer to cut one up into threes and add it that way, and not small kernels.

Finally, I toast my tortilla instead of frying it till it is dry like crackers.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken

  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juices

  • 4 cups chicken broth or home made chicken stock

  • 6 (6-inch) corn tortillas

  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil peanut oil or other high smoke-point oil

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 2 cups chopped onions

  • 1 medium Anaheim poblano or jalapeño chile - seeded, veins removed and chopped

  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or mild cheddar)

  • 2 cloves garlic minced

  • Chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 lime cut into wedges

Instructions

Preparing the Tortillas

  1. If you are starting with somewhat old, dried out tortillas, great. If not and you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200°F for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit. It is best to start with tortillas that don't have a lot of moisture in them.

  2. Cut tortillas in half, and then cut the halves into 1/4-inch wide strips.

  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat. You may have to work in batches, fry the tortilla strips in the oil, until lightly browned and crisp.

  4. Remove the tortilla strips from the pan and let drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.

Preparing the Soup

  1. Add the chopped onions to the pan, cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

  2. Add the chopped chile and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the onions and chiles have softened.

  3. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.

  4. Add the broth, tomatoes, and salt.

  5. Increase the heat to high, heat until the soup begins to boil, then cut the heat to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

  6. Add the shredded chicken and cook until heated through.

Serving

To serve, pit, peel, and cut the avocado into 1-inch pieces. Divide half of tortilla strips among 4 individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with avocado and cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

 

Mexican Chicken Soup with TortillaCredit: MexiFoodieJunkie

Korean Chicken Soup

As the Koreans Say Sam Gye Tang

A whole young chicken or hen is stuffed with glutinous rice and boiled in a broth of Korean ginseng, dried seeded jujube fruits, garlic, and ginger.

Koreans eat Sam Gye Tang on the hottest days of summer believing it to rejuvenate them, protect them from the summer's heat as well as chasing away the sniffles and colds.Korean Chicken (Hen) SoupCredit: lexparadise

If you are someone who tries food based on pictures ... you might not like this soups aesthetic value ... it's surprising unappealing looking, but it makes up for it with flavour. I made one with a Cornish hen and it turned out fantastic. I admit I was surprised. I had my doubts the whole time I was preparing this soup.

All ingredients are used whole, as it's believed that whole ingredients produce more nutrients.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cornish Game Hen or Young Chicken

  • 3 Ginseng Roots - fresh or dried

  • 4 - 5 Chestnuts - fresh or dried

  • 7 - 10 Whole Garlic Cloves

  • 10 Daechus (Dried Jujubees)

  • 1/2 cup Sweet Rice or more if needed to fill hen

  • Green Onions - Garnish

Instructions

        Preparing the Chicken or Hen

  1. Take your chicken or hen out of its package and give it a thorough cleaning making sure to drain as much blood out of the cavities as possible.

  2. Bring the chicken to a boil in a pot of water and when you see 'gunk' start to appear on the surface, remove it from the heat. Give it a rinse under cold water and make sure everything on the inside is clean as well. Once the chicken is cleaned off, you're now ready to stuff the chicken.

  3. Add enough sweet rice to fill up half the chicken, then add a clove of garlic and a chestnut, fill the rice to the top and seal it off by positioning a daechu (or jujubee) and garlic piece so that the hole is blocked. You can go ahead and sew the chicken shut if you want to. But in my experience if you stuff it closed carefully and make sure there's a tight fit, most of the rice doesn't escape.

    Making the Soup

  4. Clean the pot, add the chicken and fill with as much water as you can. Make sure you use a pot that is narrow and high to give the chicken a snug fit. You need at least 5 inches of water to cover the chicken.

  5. Add the jujubees (whole), Korean ginseng and chestnuts to the water with the chicken or hen.

  6. Bring the soup to a boil and keep skimming any remaining fat that rises to the top. You don't want to boil the water too harshly. Make sure it's a slow boil.

  7. Cover the pot and let it boil for up to 3-4 hours. Every 30 minutes or so use a large ladle to flip the chicken over to ensure even cooking.

  8. When serving, you can tear the chicken or hen meat away and add some soup broth, salting it to taste, don't forget to get some of the rice!

  9. Add some green onions as garnish.

    Sam Gye TangCredit: KoreanFoodGallery