Chicken Soup

So apparently we are entering into the mother of all flu seasons and the most ridiculous run on supermarket staples that I have ever seen. I am not claiming this is the actual cure to Covid-19 but I do love this soup and it is a real favourite with my family.  It is also one of those dishes that makes you feel like a legend of a mother, even though it is super easy.  You can make the stock from first principles if you like, but this is the working mamas version and just as delicious.  I have had to adjust this recipe slightly because apparently vermicelli is on the list of things that one needs to stock up on when preparing for Corona Virus quarantine.  I have used orecchiette today because it was left on the empty pasta shelves like the kid who didn't get picked for the team.  It is not right, and it doesn't make it look like chicken noodle soup, but we live in such times and it was delicious.

I have also altered the traditional recipe a bit, just because I still can't get my head around the simplicity of some traditional Lebanese recipes.  You can make this with just the stock, chicken, cinnamon, bay leaves, allspice and vermicelli and that is just fine. You can find the traditional recipe online by googling "Shorbet djaj w shaariyeh".  I can't resist a bit of chilli in soup even in the face of tradition, and I have added spinach because I like the extra nutrition.

INGREDIENTS:                                                                                 Serves 10-12

  • 3 chicken filets about 750 g
  • 1 litre of good store bought chicken stock, 2 litres of water
  • 1 onion, 1 carrot, a celery stick a few bay leafs, a few sprigs of fresh oregano, a few cloves of garlic, a stick of cinnamon
  • All Spice
  • 2 tomatoes, pealed and chopped
  • 1 fresh large chilli (optional)
  • 1 cup of vermicelli noodles (can be substituted for small pasta if the Corona virus rush has stolen all the vermicelli)
  • Large packet of baby spinach
  • Salt, pepper,


  • Place the chicken in a pot with the stock. water, onion (diced), garlic (whole but bruised), carrot, celery, oregano and bay leaves, cover and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer gently until chicken is poached, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth and allow chicken to cool
  • Keep boiling stock for another 20 min or so before straining the broth.
  • Return the strained broth to the heat and add tomatoes all spice and and chilli if desired.  Simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Tear the chicken into little pieces. Return the chicken to the stock with vermicelli. If using other pasta, cook for a few minutes before returning the chicken. Season to taste
  • Add the spinach just before serving
  • Serve with lemon wedges if desired.

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