Poached-Chicken Soup

Whether you feel a cold coming on or simply need a little soothing, there's nothing like a hot bowl of chicken soup. Poaching in broth also happens to be a great way to cook chicken, ranking right up there with roasted and fried among our favorite methods. You can eat the broth as a first course and then the chicken and vegetables, as is traditional in France, or do what we do—eat them together in a shallow bowl and feel supremely comforted. Plus:  More Soup Recipes and Tips 

Poached-Chicken Soup
Photo: © Phyllis Grant


  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 carrot, chopped

  • 1 rib celery, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), cut into 8 pieces, skin removed

  • 4 small red potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and quartered

  • 2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into eighths

  • 1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock

  • 1 teaspoon red- or white-wine vinegar

  • 2 quarts water

  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add the chicken, potatoes, turnips, broth, vinegar, water, thyme, bay leaf, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil.

  3. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the chicken is just done, about 10 minutes for the breasts and 15 minutes for the legs and thighs; remove each piece as it is done.

  4. Continue simmering the soup until the potatoes and turnips are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the pepper and parsley. Remove the thyme sprig and bay leaf. To serve, divide the chicken pieces among four shallow bowls and ladle the broth and vegetables over them.

Suggested Pairing

Though they are America's favorite wines, Chardonnays are often quite awkward with food. Here, however, a California Chardonnay that is medium-bodied and not too oaky will be just the ticket.

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