This Chicken Curry Soup recipe is a cozy bowl you can pair with pillow-soft naan for a wholesome winter meal.
It’s a delight to have a pot of simmering soup on my stove, especially when the temperatures outside dip. The remnants of a weekend snow are melting today, so I’m grateful for the carton of Chicken Curry Soup I have in my refrigerator. And with just a few ingredients, you can make this soup for supper tonight.
This recipe (with just a couple of my tweaks) is from my mom’s copy of a cookbook produced in 1981 by The Elsah Landing Restaurant. I modified the suggested amount of chicken stock and added celery to the soup starter. More later about the restaurant and the Village of Elsah, but for now, let’s get into the soup.
It’s a safe bet that most cooks have in their arsenal a recipe for chicken noodle or chicken and rice soup. Both are wonderfully comforting and nourishing. But what I love about Chicken Curry Soup is the extra hug you get from the curry powder. Don’t be afraid of this spice, folks! If you’re not familiar with curry powders, just visit a spice shop in your area and ask questions.
A common misconception about curry is it’s going to be “too spicy” for an individual’s palate. While some curry powders can bring more heat than others, according to the blog SPICEography, there are milder curry powders from Asia, France and Jamaica. Cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, ginger and cumin are common spices used to blend a curry powder. Just two teaspoons of curry powder (I used The Now Curry from Penzeys) create an underlying warmth and just enough zip to wake up your chicken soup.
For this Chicken Curry Soup recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded chicken
¼ cup butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 cup light cream
Apple slices to garnish
You can use either homemade or purchased chicken stock. I used a lower sodium organic chicken stock for this recipe. Any shredded chicken would work in this dish; I poached one chicken breast and two full-size chicken wings in some stock. Leftover roasted chicken could be used; even canned white meat chicken would work if you had that in your pantry. Let’s get cooking!
In a 4-quart stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Meanwhile, dice the onion, celery and carrots to create the soup’s mirepoix, the soup’s aromatic starter. You’re not looking for any color here, so stir occasionally while sweating the onions. The celery will start to soften, too, but don’t worry about the carrots because those will get tender while the soup simmers. I cooked the vegetables for about five minutes.
Next, add the curry powder and stir to combine the spice into the vegetables. I let this mixture cook for another five minutes (the aroma will be intoxicating, by the way).
At this point, add the chicken stock. Bring it to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes. While the stock is simmering, mix the cornstarch and water into a slurry. Stir the mixture into the stock.
Next, add the chicken, salt and sugar. Taste and adjust salt or sugar as desired.
Now it’s time to add the cream. I added about three tablespoons of the soup’s stock into the cup of cream. This tempering method will present any possible curdling; it’s also a good idea to get the cream out of the refrigerator at the outset of the process, measure it and let it wait on your counter.
Just heat the soup through for another couple of minutes, stirring to incorporate the cream. You’ll have a smooth, fragrant and delightful pot of soup that makes four to six servings. It was suggested by The Elsah Landing cookbook authors to serve this will an apple slice, and I agree it’s a nice touch. I also set out a plate of pillowy naan that screamed to be dipped into the bowl. It’s a joyous mouthful.
When The Elsah Landing Restaurant opened in Elsah, Illinois, in 1975, Chicken Curry and Asparagus Mushroom were the only soups on the menu. Helen Crafton and Dorothy Lindgren were the owners. Over the years, the restaurant rotated forty or fifty soups, plus salads, a variety of homemade breads and desserts. My mom, Katie, and I enjoyed a few lunches at The Elsah Landing, whether it was at their original location or the second restaurant that opened at Plaza Frontenac in west St. Louis County.
Mom confided a few times to me that she had a secret dream to run a restaurant similar to Elsah Landing; a place with a simple but nourishing menu that featured soups, sandwiches and desserts. It’s a shame that she never got that chance, but she still fed people around her table and through meals prepared at Trinity United Church of Christ. Food was the language of love for my mom, as well as my grandma, Dorothy. Helen and Dorothy certainly spoke the language when they had The Elsah Landing Restaurant.
And I’m having a lot of fun becoming more fluent!
Give this soup a try and let me know in your comments how it turned out. If you have any memories of The Elsah Landing Restaurant, feel free to share as well.
Want another chicken soup recipe? Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is a delicious and quick meal. And while it's not technically a soup (there is a debate about that), White Chicken Chili is a warm addition to your winter table.