Looking for the best chicken soup recipe to warm you up this winter? Look no further! In this article, the author shares their go-to recipe for a delicious and nourishing chicken soup. Made with tender poached chicken, hearty winter vegetables, and fresh herbs like thyme and tarragon, this soup is like a cozy hug for your taste buds. The recipe also includes step-by-step instructions and helpful tips, making it easy for anyone to recreate this comforting dish. So whether you’re craving something brothy and light or in need of a immunity-boosting remedy, this chicken soup is sure to hit the spot!
Can’t find parsnips? No worries! The author provides variations of the recipe, allowing you to use other veggies like potatoes or turnips. Plus, you can even add zucchini noodles for an extra twist. The soup can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days or frozen for up to 3 months, making it a convenient option for meal prep or leftovers. So why wait? Give this incredible chicken soup recipe a try and warm yourself up from the inside out this winter!
Tender poached chicken
When making the best chicken soup for winter, one of the key ingredients is tender poached chicken. This adds a wonderful depth of flavor and adds protein to the soup. To poach the chicken, you’ll need boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Poaching the chicken ensures it stays moist and tender, giving you the perfect texture in every bite.
Another essential component of this chicken soup is a selection of hearty winter vegetables. In this recipe, we’ll be using carrots, parsnips, celery, and onion. These vegetables not only add a delicious, earthy flavor to the soup but also provide a range of vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system during the winter months.
To elevate the flavor of the soup, we’ll be adding fresh herbs. Thyme and tarragon are the chosen herbs for this recipe, and they lend a fragrant and aromatic quality to the soup. The herbs combine beautifully with the chicken and vegetables, creating a comforting and flavorful experience.
Tarragon is the star ingredient that adds a “wow factor” to this chicken soup. Its unique flavor profile adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to the dish. Tarragon pairs beautifully with chicken and complements the sweetness of the parsnips and leeks. It truly takes this chicken soup to the next level.
Step 1: Poach the chicken
To begin, place the boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. This poaching method ensures that the chicken remains tender and juicy. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside to cool slightly before shredding it.
Step 2: Prepare the vegetables
While the chicken is poaching, prepare the vegetables. Peel and slice the carrots and parsnips into rounds or half moons, depending on their size. Dice the celery and onion. Rinse the leek thoroughly, as they can be quite sandy, and slice it into small pieces. Lastly, smash the garlic cloves to remove the skins.
Step 3: Cook the soup base
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and sliced leek, followed by the carrots, parsnips, celery, and onion. Stir the vegetables for about 4 to 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
Step 4: Add the vegetables and chicken
Once the vegetables have softened, add the poached and shredded chicken to the pot. This adds protein and substance to the soup. Also, add two sprigs of fresh thyme, two sprigs of fresh tarragon, and a bay leaf for added flavor.
Step 5: Simmer the soup
Pour the low-sodium chicken broth (or a combination of chicken broth and water) into the pot, bringing the liquid to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
Step 6: Add the fresh herbs and tarragon
Remove the sprigs of thyme and tarragon from the pot. These herbs have infused the soup with their aromatic flavors. Pluck out the bay leaf as well. Finally, sprinkle in a quarter cup of freshly chopped parsley for a vibrant pop of green.
Step 7: Adjust seasoning
Now is the time to taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed. You may want to add more salt or pepper to enhance the flavors to your liking. Feel free to add a squeeze of lemon juice for added brightness if desired.
Step 8: Serve hot
Once the soup is seasoned to perfection, it’s time to serve it hot. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with additional parsley and freshly ground black pepper if desired. The warmth of the soup combined with the comforting flavors will make every spoonful a delight.
Tips for Making the Best Chicken Soup
Choose high-quality ingredients
When making chicken soup, it’s important to start with high-quality ingredients. This ensures the best flavor and overall experience. Choose fresh and organic vegetables, along with high-quality chicken and herbs.
Use homemade chicken broth or high-quality store-bought broth
For the soup base, using homemade chicken broth will give the best flavor. If homemade broth is not available, opt for a high-quality store-bought broth with low sodium content. This will provide a rich, flavorful base for the soup.
Poach the chicken for maximum tenderness
Poaching the chicken breasts ensures they stay tender and moist. Avoid overcooking the chicken, as this can result in a dry texture. Once poached, let the chicken cool slightly before shredding it.
Dice the vegetables evenly for even cooking
When preparing the vegetables, aim to dice them into similar-sized pieces. This ensures even cooking and a consistent texture in the soup. The uniformity of the vegetables adds to the overall presentation and enjoyment of the dish.
Add herbs at the end for maximum flavor
To preserve the freshness and flavor of the herbs, add them towards the end of the cooking process. This allows their essential oils and flavors to infuse the soup without losing their potency.
Adjust seasoning gradually
Seasoning is subjective, and everyone has different preferences. It’s best to adjust the seasoning gradually, tasting as you go, until you achieve the desired flavors. Remember, it’s easier to add more seasoning than to remove it, so start with a light hand.
Garnish with fresh herbs for extra freshness
To enhance the visual appeal and freshness of the chicken soup, garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of fresh herbs. This adds a nice finishing touch and elevates the presentation of the dish.
Potato or turnip substitutes for parsnips
If parsnips are not readily available, you can substitute them with potatoes or turnips. These vegetables offer a similar texture and can be sliced or diced to match the size of the original recipe.
Adding zucchini noodles
For a twist on the classic chicken soup, consider adding zucchini noodles, also known as zoodles. These spiralized zucchini strands add a nutritious and low-carb element to the dish. Add the zoodles towards the end of the cooking process to maintain their crispness.
Experimenting with different herbs
While thyme and tarragon are the recommended herbs for this recipe, feel free to experiment with different herbs. Basil, rosemary, or dill can provide new and exciting flavor profiles to your chicken soup.
Storage and Reheating
This chicken soup can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Allow the soup to cool before transferring it to an airtight container. To reheat, simply warm the soup on the stovetop over low heat until heated through.
If you have leftovers that you won’t be able to consume within the 4-5 day timeframe, you can freeze the soup for up to 3 months. Portion the soup into freezer-safe containers or freezer bags, leaving some headspace for expansion. Thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
When the cold weather strikes, there’s nothing quite as comforting and nourishing as a bowl of chicken soup. This recipe for the best chicken soup for winter combines tender poached chicken, hearty winter vegetables, and fresh herbs to create a flavorful and cozy option. The addition of tarragon adds a unique and delightful twist to the soup, making it truly special. Whether you’re in need of warmth and comfort or a boost to your immune system, this chicken soup is the perfect choice. With variations and customization options available, you can create a soup that suits your preferences. So grab a bowl, garnish with fresh herbs, and enjoy the goodness of this homemade chicken soup.