Chunky Chicken Soup

This is a traditional bulgarian soup, full of goodness and flavour and a definite favourite at home.

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 2 chicken legs
  • 2 litres of water
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp of dry savory or oregano (pinch of dry thyme might also do the trick)
  •  a few parsley stalks
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil/ margarine/ butter
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1/2 cup of pudding or arborio rice
  • 1 green chilli for a bit of a kick
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • Optional chilli flakes and cider vinegar to serve

Cooking Method

Put the chicken legs, 1 celery stick broken in half, 1 carrot cut in big chunks, 1 onion pealed and cut in big chunks, 1 crushed garlic clove, bay leaf, paprika, savory (oregano, thyme), parsley stalks, salt and pepper and oil (margarine, butter) in a large pot. Cover with the water and simmer on low heat covered for an hour or until the chicken is cooked and falls of the bones.

Take of the heat and strain of the stock in a large bowl. Put the chicken aside and discard the vegetables. While the chicken is cooling down, chop the remaining carrot, onion, garlic and celery into small pieces and add back in the pot.  Pour enough water to cover and gently simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. When the carrots, onion and celery have softened up add the remaining stock and bring to the boil.

Meanwhile cut the potato into small chunks, chop the chilli (if using) and wash and drain the rice.  Tear the chicken into small pieces, discard the bones and the skin. Add the potatoes and chopped chilli (optional) and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the rice and the chicken and cook for further 10 minutes or until the rice has cooked well.

Get the soup of the heat. Taste and add a bit of salt and pepper if needed. Beat the egg and the milk together and start adding little stock from the soup while whisking. This can be a bit tricky as you don’t want to cook and scramble the egg. If you are careful and add a little bit at a time it will be fine. After adding about 2-3 ladles of stock start mixing the egg mixture with the soup. Pour a little bit at a time and stir it in. Chop up the parsley and spring onion finely and sprinkle over the soup.

If you like a bit of a kick serve with red chilli flakes on top. If you add a couple of splashes of vinegar on top it really lifts it up. This is a bulgarian thing and it really works, but maybe you should try a little bit before you go heavy on the vinegar.  The soup is great served with toasted bread or some crisp bread crackers (like Ryvita)


A few tips and tricks:

  • Making a perfect stock is the key to making a great soup, so take your time and simmer gently to release all the flavours.
  • The egg and milk mixture (застройка- zastroika) is a traditional addition to bulgarian soups. It thickens the soup slightly and combines the flavours really well.
  • Adding a splash of vinegar when serving this type of soup really works, try it and let me know what you think.
  • If you have any left over soup, you can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days or even freeze it. Just be carefull when you warm it up and don’t let it boil as this will curdle the egg.

I hope you enjoy my recipe, please let me know what you think!


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