Savoring the familiar yet sophisticated character of chicken and cream of chicken soup recipes is an unparalleled journey for the palate. This quintessential comfort dish is no stranger to households worldwide. Its rich, velvety texture and hearty, soul-soothing essence encapsulate a sense of home.
We’ve added this timeless recipe and an innovative twist, inviting a thrilling adventure for flavor explorers. Immerse yourself in a world where tender chicken meets luscious cream, and a harmonious symphony of spices enhances the taste spectrum.
This reinterpretation satiates and enchants, marrying tradition and creativity in every simmering pot. Witness a soup transformation, where a humble classic is elevated into an exquisite gastronomic experience.
Brace yourselves, fellow food lovers, as we embark on an enticing culinary journey, unraveling the secrets behind a reinvented cream of chicken soup that’s about to redefine comfort on your dining tables.
What Is Cream Of Chicken Soup?
Cream of chicken soup is a savory, creamy dish that forms an integral part of global comfort food. It’s made by simmering tender chicken pieces in a flavorful broth, often with vegetables such as onions, carrots, and celery. The distinctive creaminess is introduced by adding heavy cream or milk, creating a velvety texture.
Its rich and warming qualities make it a popular choice for cold days. At the same time, its versatility allows it to be enjoyed as a standalone dish or used as a base for casseroles and pies.
History Of Cream Of Chicken Soup Recipe
The history of cream of chicken soup is deeply rooted in the tradition of making hearty, warming broths. Variations of chicken soup have been prepared for centuries worldwide, given the affordability and availability of chicken.
However, the concept of creaming soups became popular in the 18th century, particularly in France, when culinary techniques advanced and cream was incorporated into various dishes. The canned version, a household staple in the United States and many other countries.
It was popularized by Campbell’s Soup Company in the early 20th century, gaining fame for its convenience and versatility in home cooking.
Interesting Facts About Cream Of Chicken Soup Recipe
- Cream of Chicken Soup’s Versatility: Not just a standalone dish, cream of chicken soup is a popular ingredient in many recipes, from casseroles to pot pies, adding depth and richness to other dishes.
- A Comfort Food Staple: This soup is considered comfort food in many cultures worldwide. Its warm, creamy consistency often invokes feelings of nostalgia and home.
- Campbell’s Iconic Product: Campbell’s cream of chicken soup, introduced in the early 20th century, was among the first commercially available, ready-to-eat soups, transforming meal preparation and becoming a staple in American households.
- Nutritional Value: Despite its creamy richness, a typical serving of cream of chicken soup can be a source of protein (from chicken), and if homemade, you can control the ingredients for a healthier version.
- Culinary Variations: There are numerous variations of the recipe globally, with different regions adding unique spins, including local spices, herbs, or vegetables.
What Makes Cream Of Chicken Soup Special?
- Comfort Factor: This soup’s warm, creamy, and hearty nature makes it a quintessential comfort food. Whether it’s a rainy day, a cold winter night, or simply a moment when you crave something soothing, cream of chicken soup often comes to the rescue.
- Versatility: This soup’s rich, neutral flavors make it an excellent base for a wide range of dishes, from casseroles to pot pies, enabling cooks to explore various culinary possibilities.
- Accessibility: Its ingredients are simple and readily available, making it easy to prepare at home. Despite this simplicity, it packs a flavor punch that belies its humble origins.
- Customizable: It’s incredibly adaptable to personal tastes. Want it thicker? Add more cream or a roux. Prefer it chunky? Increase the amount of chicken or vegetables. Spices can be adjusted to suit individual palates, and garnishes can add color and texture.
- Nutritional Value: While it’s a creamy soup, it also provides a good source of protein from the chicken, and if loaded with vegetables, it can serve as a well-rounded meal.
|Finely chopped, cooked chicken meat
|Ground black pepper
- Chicken: Use bone-in chicken for deeper flavor. The bones will enrich the broth as they simmer, resulting in a more flavorful soup. Remove them before serving or shredding the meat.
- Vegetables: Don’t skip the classic mirepoix (onions, carrots, and celery). These ingredients contribute a necessary depth of flavor to the soup.
- Cream: Consider using half-and-half or even whole milk instead of heavy cream for a lighter version. For a lactose-free version, coconut milk can also be used.
- Herbs and Spices: Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or parsley can add a vibrant, fresh taste. A dash of cayenne pepper can make a difference if you enjoy a hint of heat.
- Roux: When preparing your roux (a mixture of fat and flour used to thicken the soup), be sure not to rush. Allow the roux to cook slowly to avoid a raw flour taste.
Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?
- Additional Proteins: You can add other proteins like ham or turkey. Seafood such as shrimp or crab can also be an exciting twist to the classic recipe.
- Vegetables: Adding more vegetables such as peas, corn, or bell peppers can increase the nutritional value and provide additional texture and flavor.
- Vegan Version: For a vegan take, you could replace the chicken with tofu or chickpeas and use plant-based cream or coconut milk as the cream substitute.
- Gluten-Free: If gluten-sensitive, use gluten-free flour or cornstarch as a thickening agent instead of regular wheat flour.
- Spices and Herbs: Experimenting with spices and herbs can change the flavor profile significantly. For instance, adding some smoked paprika or chipotle could give a smoky twist, while adding curry powder or turmeric could lend an exotic, warming touch.
- Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large pot or saucepan.
- Add the finely chopped, cooked chicken meat to the pot and sauté it for a few minutes until it’s heated through.
- Sprinkle the all-purpose flour over the chicken and stir it to coat the meat evenly. Cook for a few more minutes to remove the raw flour flavor.
- Put the milk gradually, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Add the white sugar, salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder to the pot. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
- Allow the soup to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens to your desired consistency.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings if needed. You can add more salt, pepper, or garlic powder according to your preference.
- Once the soup reaches the desired consistency and flavor, please remove it from the heat.
- Serve the cream of chicken soup hot, and enjoy!
Variations, Add-Ons And Toppings
- Vegetable Loaded: Add a mix of your favorite vegetables, such as peas, corn, bell peppers, or diced potatoes, for added nutrition and texture.
- Spiced Up: Experiment with different spices and herbs. Consider smoked paprika for a smoky flavor, curry powder for an exotic touch, or a pinch of saffron for a luxurious spin.
- Seafood Delight: Replace chicken with shrimp or crab for a pescatarian soup version.
- Vegan Friendly: Use plant-based alternatives such as tofu or chickpeas for the chicken and coconut milk or almond milk instead of dairy milk.
- Proteins: Add diced ham, shredded turkey, or even boiled eggs.
- Grains: Add cooked rice, barley, or small pasta shapes to make the soup heartier.
- Cheese: Stir some shredded cheddar or Parmesan cheese for a deliciously creamy and cheesy twist.
- Fresh Herbs: For a fresh and colorful garnish, sprinkle freshly cut parsley, dill, or chives on top of each dish.
- Croutons: Homemade or store-bought croutons add a satisfying crunch and are a classic soup topping.
- Bacon Bits: Sprinkle-cooked, crumbled bacon on top for a smoky, savory finish.
- Cheese: A sprinkle of shredded cheese like cheddar or a dusting of Parmesan can add a new depth of flavor.
- Seeds or Nuts: Roasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or slivered almonds can provide a satisfying crunch.
Scaling The Recipe
Cream of chicken soup is a versatile and comforting dish that can be easily scaled up or down based on your needs. Whether you’re cooking for a small gathering or a large crowd, adjusting the recipe to accommodate the desired serving size is simple.
To scale the recipe up, you can multiply all the ingredients by the same factor, ensuring that each element is increased proportionally. On the other hand, to scale the recipe down, you can divide the quantities of each ingredient accordingly. By making these adjustments, you can maintain the balance of flavors and ensure a delicious outcome.
So whether you’re looking for a cozy meal for two or a hearty soup for a family gathering, scaling the cream of chicken soup recipe will help you achieve the perfect portion size without compromising taste.
What Is Used For Garnishing?
- Fresh Herbs: Chopped parsley, chives, or dill can add a pop of color and a new flavor.
- Cream Drizzle: A drizzle or a dollop of sour cream on top can make the dish look more appealing and add a touch of richness.
- Cheese: A sprinkle of grated Parmesan or cheddar cheese adds flavor and gives a lovely, enticing look to your soup.
- Croutons: Homemade or store-bought croutons offer a satisfying crunch and are a traditional soup garnish.
- Cracked Black Pepper or Paprika: A light sprinkle can enhance the visual appeal and lend a hint of spice.
- Bacon Bits: Cooked, crumbled bacon provides a smoky, savory touch and contrasts well with the soup’s creaminess.
Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
- In a pan, make the roux with flour and oil as described in the original recipe. Gradually add the milk and keep stirring until it thickens.
- Transfer the roux to your slow cooker, then add the chicken, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally, and make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- If the soup isn’t as thick as you’d like, make a slurry of cornstarch and water, add it to the soup, stir well, and cook on high for 15-30 minutes until it thickens to your desired consistency.
- Using the sauté function, heat the oil in the Instant Pot. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Gradually stir in the milk and keep stirring until the mixture thickens.
- Add the chicken, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir well to combine.
- Secure the lid and set the Instant Pot to manual or “pressure cook” on high pressure for 10 minutes.
- After the cooking time is up, allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes, then quickly release the remaining pressure.
- If you desire a thicker soup, make a slurry of cornstarch and water, add it to the soup, stir well, and use the sauté function to cook for another 2-3 minutes until the soup thickens to your desired consistency.
Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?
- Store-bought Broth: This is a convenient option that can save a significant amount of time. When purchasing store-bought broth, opt for low-sodium versions to better control your soup’s saltiness. Many high-quality, organic options are also available that can provide good flavor.
- Homemade Broth: If you have the time and resources, making your chicken broth can give your soup a deeper flavor. Homemade broth also allows you to control the ingredients fully, which is beneficial if catering to specific dietary needs or preferences. You can make broth in bulk and freeze it in portions for future use.
Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Recipe?
- Meat: You could substitute chicken with other types of meat like turkey, ham, or even beef. If using beef, consider a tender cut that will become soft and juicy as it simmers.
- Fish: Consider firm fish like cod or haddock for a seafood version. Shellfish like shrimp or crab could also be excellent additions, providing a unique flavor twist.
- Pasta: Small types of pasta like orzo, ditalini, or even small shell pasta can be included to make the soup heartier. Remember that pasta will absorb some of the soup liquid, so you might need to adjust the liquid quantity accordingly.
- Vegetables: While the classic version often includes vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions, add your favorite veggies or whatever you have. For example, peas, corn, bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach could be wonderful additions. Also, consider adding mushrooms for an umami boost.
Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For The Recipe
- Ensure the chicken meat is cooked and finely chopped for a tender and flavorful soup.
- Gradually add the milk while stirring to prevent lumps from forming.
- Adjust the seasonings according to your taste preferences for a personalized touch.
- Simmer the soup on low heat to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Serve the soup hot and pair it with crusty bread or a side salad for a satisfying meal.
- Gather Your Ingredients: Make sure you have all the necessary ingredients before cooking. This will help you avoid last-minute store runs and unnecessary stress.
- Prep Ahead: Chop your vegetables and measure out your spices beforehand. This will streamline your cooking process and prevent any frantic searching for ingredients while you’re in the middle of cooking.
- Roux Tips: Ensure your heat is medium to low, and stir constantly when making your roux. This helps prevent the roux from burning and lends a smooth texture to your soup.
- Chicken Preparation: If you’re using chicken breasts, consider pounding them to an even thickness for more consistent cooking. If using leftovers or rotisserie chicken, ensure it’s shredded or chopped into bite-sized pieces.
Cooking Time Tips
- Be Patient With The Roux: The roux is critical to your soup’s final texture. Cook it slowly and patiently to ensure it doesn’t burn and thickens appropriately.
- Simmer Slowly: When you add the chicken and spices, let the soup simmer gently rather than boiling rapidly. A slow simmer helps the flavors meld together beautifully and ensures the chicken cooks to tender perfection.
- Check for Doneness: Make sure your chicken is cooked thoroughly. When measured with a meat thermometer, it should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
- Adjusting Thickness: If your soup is too thin, use a cornstarch slurry to thicken it up. If it’s too thick, add more broth or milk to thin it out. Be sure to do this gradually while stirring to achieve your preferred consistency.
- Adapting for Appliances: If you’re using a slow cooker or Instant Pot, adjust cooking times and settings accordingly. Slow cookers typically require a longer cooking period, while Instant Pots can speed up the process significantly.
Determining the exact nutrition values for a recipe requires precise ingredient information and specific calculations. However, I can provide you with a general idea of the nutritional profile of cream of chicken soup.
It is typically rich in protein from chicken, contains carbohydrates from flour and sugar, and offers varying amounts of fat depending on the milk and oil used.
What Are The Total Calories In The Recipe?
A traditional cream of chicken soup made with whole milk and oil could contain around 200-300 calories per serving. This can fluctuate based on the specific ingredients and their quantities. For a more precise count, consider using a calorie-counting tool or application where you can input the particular amounts of each ingredient you’re using.
Dietary Restrictions Of The Recipe
- Dairy-Free: This recipe contains milk unsuitable for lactose-intolerant individuals or following a dairy-free diet. However, you can substitute the milk with non-dairy alternatives such as almond, coconut, or soy milk. Adjust the thickening process, as non-dairy milk may have different consistencies.
- Gluten-Free: The roux in this recipe is traditionally made with wheat flour, which contains gluten. To make this soup gluten-free, substitute the wheat flour with a gluten-free flour blend or use cornstarch as a thickener.
- Vegetarian/Vegan: This soup contains chicken, making it unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans. For a vegetarian version, you can use vegetable broth and add more vegetables or tofu instead of chicken. In addition, you’d need to replace the milk with a non-dairy alternative for a vegan version.
- Low-Sodium: If you’re on a low-sodium diet, you can control the amount of salt added to the recipe. Additionally, using a low-sodium or homemade broth will help keep the sodium levels in check.
- Nut Allergies: The traditional recipe doesn’t contain nuts. However, if you’re substituting dairy milk with nut milk (like almond milk) for dietary reasons, remember this won’t suit people with nut allergies. You could use a nut-free alternative such as oat or soy milk.
Health Benefits Of The Recipe
- Protein: Chicken is a high-quality source of protein, essential for muscle growth and repair, as well as overall bodily function.
- Dairy Nutrients: Milk, an ingredient in the soup, is rich in calcium and vitamin D, essential for bone health.
- Hydration: Soups are high in water content which can contribute to daily hydration needs, supporting overall bodily function and skin health.
- Vegetable Additions: If you add vegetables to your soup, they can provide a variety of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, supporting digestion, heart health, and overall wellness.
- Immune Support: The chicken soup has long been a home remedy for common colds. While it’s not a cure-all, the warm broth can soothe a sore throat, and the steam can help clear nasal congestion.
How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sodium?
- Use Low-Sodium or Sodium-Free Broth: Many grocery stores carry low-sodium or sodium-free chicken broth. You can also make your broth at home to control the sodium content.
- Limit Added Salt: Reduce the amount of table salt added to your recipe. Remember, you can always add salt to individual servings as needed, but you can’t remove it once it’s in the pot.
- Boost Flavor with Herbs and Spices: Instead of relying on salt to flavor your soup, use a variety of herbs and spices. Garlic, onion, black pepper, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves can all add a lot of flavor without increasing sodium.
- Use Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh ingredients over canned or processed ones whenever possible, as these often contain added sodium.
- Rinse Canned Ingredients: If you need canned ingredients, rinse them thoroughly under cold water before adding them to your soup. This can help remove some of the added sodium.
How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sugar?
- Check Your Ingredients: Make sure any pre-packaged ingredients, like broths or stocks, don’t contain added sugars. They can sometimes be hidden in the ingredients list under different names, like corn syrup, fructose, or dextrose.
- Avoid Sweetened Dairy Substitutes: Opt for an unsweetened version if you’re using a dairy substitute. Some milk substitutes, like almond or soy milk, can have sweetened varieties.
- Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh ingredients instead of canned or processed ones can help avoid hidden sugars. This applies to any vegetables or meats you might add to your soup.
- Skip the Sugar: If your recipe calls for sugar, skip it or reduce it. Cream of chicken soup will still be flavorful without it, especially if you’re using herbs, spices, and good-quality ingredients.
How To Serve The Soup At Its Best?
- Temperature: Cream of chicken soup is best served hot. Ensure it’s thoroughly heated before serving. A lukewarm soup may not bring out the flavors as effectively as a hot one.
- Bowl Selection: Soup is typically served in a bowl, but the bowl type can enhance the experience. A shallow, wide bowl is often the best choice for creamy soups as it showcases the texture and ingredients.
- Garnishing: Add a touch of garnish just before serving. A sprinkle of fresh herbs, a few croutons, or a swirl of cream can elevate the look and taste of the soup. If your soup has chicken pieces, ensure each serving has a good mix of chicken and broth.
- Accompaniments: Cream of chicken soup pairs well with a slice of crusty bread or a side salad. Serving these on the side can turn your soup into a satisfying meal.
- Portion Size: Keep the portion sizes appropriate. For a starter, a small cup of soup is sufficient. If it’s the main course, a larger bowl is more suitable.
- Serving Utensils: Use a ladle for serving soup. This allows you to control the portion size and ensures a neat and clean serving process.
Perfect Side Dishes To Complement The Recipe
- Crusty Bread: A slice of fresh, crusty bread or a warm baguette is perfect for dipping into the creamy soup. This can add a nice textural contrast.
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A classic pairing, the crispy, cheesy sandwich complements the creamy soup nicely and makes for a more substantial meal.
- Salad: A light, fresh salad can balance out the richness of the soup. Try a simple green salad with a vinaigrette or a tangy coleslaw.
- Roasted Vegetables: A side of roasted root vegetables can add a touch of sweetness and a different texture to your meal. This can be particularly nice in the colder months.
- Steamed Green Vegetables: Steamed broccoli, green beans, or peas can add color and nutrition to your meal without being too heavy.
- Rice or Quinoa: A side of these grains can fill the meal and soak up the delicious soup.
How Long Can We Store The Soup?
- Refrigerator: Once the soup has cooled to room temperature, store it in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- Freezer: For longer-term storage, you can freeze your soup. Let the soup air out fully before transferring it to sealed, freezer-safe jars or heavy-duty freezing bags with some room for expansion. When properly preserved, the soup may be kept in the freezer for 4-6 months.
Can I Make Soup In Advance?
Cream of chicken soup is a great candidate for making in advance, and it can even improve in flavor when given some time for the ingredients to meld together.
If you plan to serve it within the next few days, you can refrigerate it after it cools.
If you’re making it farther in advance, consider freezing it. Simply allow this dish to cool fully before putting it into sealed, freezer-safe jars or bags to store for up to four to six months.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
- Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie: Use the leftover soup for a homemade pot pie filling. Top it with a flaky crust or puff pastry and bake until golden and bubbly.
- Creamy Chicken Pasta: Cook some pasta and toss it with the leftover soup for a quick and easy pasta dish. Add vegetables like peas, carrots, or broccoli for flavor and nutrition.
- Chicken and Rice Casserole: Mix the leftover soup with cooked rice, additional vegetables, and shredded cheese. Bake it in the oven until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated.
- Chicken and Biscuit Bake: Pour the leftover soup into a baking dish and top it with biscuit dough. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown and serve it as a comforting and satisfying meal.
- Creamy Chicken Quesadillas: Spread the leftover soup onto tortillas, and add shredded cheese and any desired toppings such as diced tomatoes, onions, or bell peppers. Fold the tortillas and cook them in a skillet until the cheese melts and the tortillas are crispy.
Special Tools/Equipment Needed
- Large pot or saucepan: For cooking the soup and accommodating all the ingredients.
- Wooden spoon or spatula: For stirring and combining the ingredients while cooking.
- Measuring cups and spoons: To accurately measure the ingredients.
- Knife and cutting board: For chopping and preparing the cooked chicken meat.
- Stove or cooktop: Heat the pot or saucepan and simmer the soup.
- Ladle or soup spoon: For serving the soup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Pre-Cooked Chicken In The Soup?
Yes, using pre-cooked chicken is a great way to save time. Ensure the chicken is finely chopped and add it to the soup during cooking.
Can I Use A Non-Dairy Milk Alternative?
Absolutely! You can substitute dairy milk with non-dairy options like almond, soy, or coconut milk. Just keep in mind that the flavor and texture of the soup may vary slightly.
Can I Freeze The Cream Of Chicken Soup?
Yes, you can freeze the soup for later use. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to freezer-safe jars or bags. When reheating, you may need to add a splash of milk or broth to adjust the consistency.
Can I Make The Soup In Advance?
Certainly! The soup can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat it gently on the stovetop, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
How Can I Make The Soup Gluten-Free?
To make the soup gluten-free, use a gluten-free flour blend or alternative thickeners like cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Ensure all other ingredients, such as the chicken and seasonings, are gluten-free.
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