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Chicken soup facts for kids

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Chicken soup
Chicken Noodle Soup.jpg
A classic preparation of chicken noodle soup made with a stewing hen and flavored with thyme and black pepper
Course Soup
Main ingredients Chicken

Chicken soup is a soup made from chicken, simmered in water, usually with various other ingredients. The classic chicken soup consists of a clear chicken broth, often with pieces of chicken or vegetables; common additions are pasta, dumplings, or grains such as rice and barley. Chicken soup has acquired the reputation of a folk remedy for colds and influenza, and in many countries is considered a comfort food

Preparation

Variations on the flavor are gained by adding root vegetables such as parsnip, potato, sweet potato and celery root, herbs such as parsley, dill, other vegetables such as zucchini, whole garlic cloves or tomatoes and black pepper. The soup should be brought slowly to a boil and then simmered in a covered pot on a very low flame for one to three hours, adding water if necessary. A clearer broth is achieved by skimming the drops of fat off the top of the soup as it is cooking, first bringing the chicken to boil from a pot of cold water and discarding the water before continuing, or straining it through a strainer or cheesecloth. Saffron or turmeric are sometimes added as a yellow colorant. Then, the chicken can be shredded by hand and stored in the refrigerator until ready for use in the soup.

Nutritional value

Chicken soup can be a relatively low fat food: fat can be removed by chilling the soup after cooking and skimming the layer of congealed fat from the top. A study determined that "prolonged cooking of a bone in soup increases the calcium content of the soup.

Terminology

Strictly speaking, chicken soup, unless qualified, implies that the soup is served as a thin broth, with pieces of meat, and possibly vegetables, and either noodles, rice, barley, or dumplings.

Cream of chicken soup is a thick, creamy, soup made with chicken stock and pieces, combined with milk (or cream) and flour, which might contain vegetable pieces, depending on the recipe.

Cream of Chicken Soup.
Cream of Chicken Soup

Several terms are used when referring to chicken soups:

  • Chicken broth is the liquid part of chicken soup. Broth can be served as is, or used as stock, or served as soup with noodles. Broth can be milder than stock, does not need to be boiled as long, and can be made with meatier chicken parts.
  • Chicken bouillon or bouillon de poulet is the French term for chicken broth.
  • Chicken consommé is a more refined chicken broth. It is usually strained to perfect clarity, and reduced to concentrate it.
  • Chicken stew is a more substantial dish with a higher ratio of solids to broth. The broth may also be thickened toward a gravy-like consistency with a roux or by adding flour-based dumplings (matzah balls do not have the same thickening effect).
  • Chicken stock is a liquid in which chicken bones and vegetables have been simmered for the purpose of serving as an ingredient in more complex dishes. Chicken stock is not usually served as is. Stock can be made with less palatable parts of the chicken, such as feet, necks or bones: the higher bone content in these parts contributes more gelatin to the liquid, making it a better base for sauces. Stock can be reboiled and reused as the basis for a new stock. Bouillon cubes or soup base are often used instead of chicken stock prepared from scratch.

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