Chicken soup is one of the classic comfort foods. Whether it comes with noodles or rice, a bowl of chicken soup can make the worst day a little bit better. Many people have a time-honored chicken soup recipe passed from generation to generation. If you don’t have one, here are some herbs that will make your chicken soup taste better than anything you can get from a can.
Chopped, fresh parsley is an essential ingredient in any chicken soup. It will give your soup a light, fresh taste. Chop the leaves of the fresh parsley and save the stems for making stock another day. Don’t be afraid of adding too much parsley as the taste is very mild. If you can’t get fresh parsley you can use the dried version but the flavor will not be as intense.
Oregano is a strongly-flavored herb that goes very well in chicken soup. You will want to be a little more careful about how much you use, especially if you are using fresh oregano. Even a little bit of dried oregano will make your chicken soup taste like an Italian restaurant and push the flavor to a whole new level. If you choose to use fresh oregano, finely chop just a few leaves and add them to the soup. If you want more flavor you can always add more.
Bay leaf is one herb that is difficult to find fresh. Buy the dried version and store in a cool dark place. Add one or two whole bay leaves to a pot of soup when you start cooking. This allows the flavors to meld into the soup. Bay leaf will give your soup a mild, distinctive flavor. Be sure to remove and discard the bay leaves when your soup is finished cooking. Do not allow anyone to eat them as they will be very dry.
There are a wide variety of other herbs that you can add to your chicken soup, depending on the taste that you want. For an Asian-flavored chicken soup add garlic and some fresh or powdered ginger. For a very Italian-flavored soup add rosemary, thyme and onion. Almost any chicken soup will benefit from a little bit of fresh or dried sage and some garlic. For a zesty chicken soup add just a dash of cayenne pepper or a little paprika. The possibilities are endless so don’t be afraid to experiment.