Comforting & Quick Chicken Soup
Putting diced chicken thighs into the pot with vegetables turns this into a satisfying chicken soup that is so quick to make, you can easily toss it together on a weeknight. The blend of saffron, cinnamon, and cardamom gives classic chicken soup a surprising yet comforting warmth reminiscent of a Moroccan-style stew. Chickpea flatbreads or store bought flatbreads or pitas are an excellent accompaniment.
Please see nutrition notes from our contributor, Nikki Ostrower, below.
Comforting & Quick Chicken Soup
6 to 8
Lior Lev Sercarz, from "Mastering Spice" by Lior Lev Sercarz
2 teaspoons dried onion slices (3 grams)
1 teaspoon green cardamom pods (2 grams)
Pinch of saffron
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Vietnamese (2 grams)
Finely grind the onion, cardamom, and saffron together and immediately mix with the cinnamon.
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 small leeks, tough green tops removed and discarded, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds
2 large celery stalks, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices
2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut at an angle into 1-inch chunks
1⁄2 small savoy cabbage, cored and cut into 2-inch pieces
1⁄4 large celery root, peeled and cut into 3⁄4-inch chunks
12 ounces boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1⁄2 small cauliflower, cored and cut into 2-inch florets
Season diced chicken thighs with salt. Heat a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add enough oil (about 3 tablespoons) to coat the bottom generously and add the leeks, celery, onions, carrots, cabbage, celery root, and chicken. Stir well and add the spice blend. Stir until all are evenly coated with the spices, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent around the edges, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and add the tomato paste and soy sauce. Stir continuously for 2 minutes and then add 5 cups cold water. Cover the pot and raise the heat to high. When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer.
Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add the cauliflower and season to taste with salt. Stir, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, season to taste with salt, and serve hot.
Pair this comforting soup with our Chickpea flatbreads!
This soup is great for year-round soup eating, but the winter is an especially great time to eat warm, grounding, nourishing, savory soups and stews. Not only is this recipe easy to make, but it’s packed with nutrient-rich protein, vegetables, and spices.
It provides a unique flavor profile with the use of spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron! Cinnamon can support blood sugar balance, cardamom has powerful antioxidants properties, and saffron (known as the “sunshine spice”) not only offers vibrant color but has been shown to improve mood and relieve depression (amongst many other benefits!). Eating medicinal foods to support gut and brain health is something we should practice all year, but its particularly important in the winter.
Additionally, traditional vegetables used such as onion, leek, celery, carrots, cabbage, and cauliflower offer great taste, fiber, vitamins and minerals, prebiotics that feed probiotics for a healthy gut (onions and leeks), and even cancer-fighting support from the cruciferous family (cabbage and cauliflower)!
While I’m a fan of great quality chicken and other animal protein sources that practice good farming and feeding, this can easily be made to suit a vegan or vegetarian palette by replacing the chicken with wild-caught fish or simply leaving it out.
Make extra of this and you can freeze the leftover broth for stock or sip on it! If you want to make this including whole chicken with the bone, the broth created is very supportive and healing to your gut lining.
One small suggestion - if you are someone who has celiac or gluten intolerance/sensitivity, be sure to get organic gluten-free soy sauce! For those who avoid soy, try coconut aminos.
Recipe from "Mastering Spice" by Lior Lev Sercarz.
Photo © Thomas Schauer
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