garlic chicken soup

garlic chicken soup

Holy ice bats it’s been a rough winter this year. We’re still in the middle of the season, but already we’ve had a blizzard, a snow storm, an ice storm, and below freezing temperatures. My pipes have frozen and my heat has been testy, and to top it all off, I didn’t get to make a snow man. Shame. So, I think it is fair to say that this has been a rough winter for many New Yorkers. And when the temperature drops and there are mini ice pellets falling from the sky, the thing you want to do most is just curl up on the couch with your roommate’s fleece throw (er…thanks roomie) turn on some bad tv and just sip some chicken soup.

Chicken soup. It’s like the ultimate comfort food for anyone. Something about the clean broth and the great chicken flavor that makes everyone happy and warm. My brother has an awesome recipe that involves the standard carrots and celery but then he spices it up with other stuff like mushrooms and ginger. It’s pretty awesome. Maybe one day I will ask him to post it on here. Maybe. I’m craving another soup,which requires less work and less ingredients: my Mom’s Garlic Chicken Soup.

This soup is amazingly simple. From start to finish, including prep time, you’re looking at 2 hours minimum. On top of the ease and quickness of the soup, the ingredients list is only six ingredients including the water and salt. Amazing. The best part of this soup is that all the ingredients seem to shine on its own and work beautifully together at the same time. Because of the slow and low cooking process, the garlic develops its sugars and adds a hint of earthy flavor to the broth. This mixed with the sweet Chinese soy pickling liquid gives it an amazing subtle flavor. For the pickles, I used to use the 6 oz. cans. However, after accidentally putting a whole 13 oz. jar of pickles in the soup during a recent party (one too many beers maybe?), I’ve discovered a better flavor that really brings a richness to the soup. Also, I didn’t have to add more salt to the soup because their was enough sodium in the liquid already. One less ingredient.

I like to make this soup because, unlike other soups, there is no planning required. I have cooked this dish by putting a completely frozen chicken in the pot as well as a thawed one. Both work fine. Being able to use a frozen bird helps when you want to make something quick. My mom would cook this in a slow cooker. She would set it in the morning, turn it on and go to work. Soup would be done when she gets home and the house would be filled with an amazing aroma that I don’t even want to attempt to describe. I wouldn’t do it any justice. I opt to go for a less hazardous cooking method that doesn’t risk the house burning down and still achieves almost the same result. If you do use a slow cooker, just put it on low for at least 4 hours. Obviously if you cook it longer the flavor will be so much better. I defer to my friends to help me describe the favors of this soup.

To all the fire marshals out there, mom doesn’t cook with the slow cooker unless someone is home now so don’t be knocking on her door.


1 large cornish game hen (1¾ to 2 lb.)

1 13 oz. jar Chinese soy pickled cucumber, w/ juice (hua gua)

9 cloves of garlic, whole

8 cups of water (enough to cover chicken)

salt to taste


place game hen, Chinese pickles, and garlic in a large dutch oven or slow cooker

pour water over chicken until it just covers the chicken

cook chicken on low heat for two hours or until chicken is fully cooked and tender [should fall off the bone]

-serves 6 to 8-


3 Responses to “garlic chicken soup”

  1. February 5, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I’ve never heard of Garlic Chicken Soup before but I have to say I am definitely intrigued by this recipe. Wonderful post. I may have to try this one out.

  2. 2 hyun
    December 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    not only a delicious soulful dish (that goes really well with a feast of blue crabs steamed in wine btw) but also the perfect remedy for a cold! i gave a bowl of this soup to my 1 yr old niece who came down with a fever last night; the next morning, she was up and about and running around like a happy camper!

  3. 3 Helena Wong
    December 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    This soup is AMAZING! Perfect for cold nights in group settings, just make sure you make enough!

    It’s sweet and savory, the soup is silky going down, and the chicken moist.

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