During the colder months, northern hemisphere foodies flock to social media posts about #soup.
For most carnivores, chicken soup is the favorite comfort food for when they need to warm up and hunker down. Practically every culture has a low-fuss popular chicken soup recipe and just about every home cook has their special secret ingredients. But low fuss doesn’t mean it’s foolproof. Plenty of common mistakes trip up soup-makers learning to concoct their signature broth. Luckily, you can avoid those soup snafus with some simple tips.
Besides never bringing your broth to a roiling boil, here are the tricks to ensure you won’t commit signature chicken soup mistakes.
Chicken Noodle: Overcooked Noodles
The classic pasta and chicken combo is just about everyone’s go-to winter cold, winter chill and overall crappy winter day remedy. Sadly, it can be cry-in-your-kitchen disappointing if the noodles turn out mushy. Add the pasta towards the very end, when there’s just a few more minutes than the time it would take to cook it in regular boiling water. They’ll stay firm and your kitchen will stay meltdown-free.
Chicken and Rice: Undercooked Rice
The hearty, popular chicken soup recipe isn’t nearly as comforting if the second-billed ingredient turns out too chewy. Give your rice enough time to cook. But be careful to not give it but not too much time. Soggy rice is a letdown, too. Keep your eye on the clock. It typically takes about 20 minutes for uncooked rice to get to every-so-slightly al dente in simmering broth.
Creamy Chicken Mushroom: Curdled Dairy
It’s been a tough afternoon in the kitchen but your creamy chicken soup is finally coming together. When you add the half-and-half or heavy cream, the contents of your pot look more like the beginning of a cheese than a soup. To get the creamy bowl you crave, patience is key. Dairy needs to be one of the very last things you add to your soup. Wait until after the heat has been extinguished and the contents have cooled for a bit.
Chicken and Vegetables: Unevenly Cooked Vegetables
Low-carb and often keto diet-compliant, chicken-veggie soup can be deeply satisfying, provided that the vegetables are evenly cooked. Start by browning the root vegetables before adding them to the liquid and be mindful that root vegetables like carrots need more time in the pot than greens like kale. Most recipes indicate the correct order of operations. Sticking to that order is wise.
Chicken and Dumplings: Disintegrating Dumplings
Chicken and Dumplings is one of the most-filling soup recipes out there and it’s ideal for those on a budget. Sadly, chicken-dumpling soup can turn out less than ideal when the dumplings begin to dissolve in the pot. There could be a few reasons for this breakdown; be sure you’ve got the right consistency for your dumplings and that they’re not too wet. They won’t take long to cook, so check them with a toothpick. Once the toothpick comes out clean, stop cooking them. And it should be stated once more: never boil soup. Boiling is a surefire way to overcook delicate ingredients.