FoodGreek chicken soup: A zesty twist on traditional comfort food

Greek chicken soup: A zesty twist on traditional comfort food

Greek chicken soup is delicious and refreshing.
Greek chicken soup is delicious and refreshing.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | qwartm

5:17 PM EDT, June 2, 2024

Tzatziki, salad, and moussaka – we can list these Greek dishes almost immediately. They are well-known and loved almost all over the world. But it's different with soups. We hardly associate them with Greek cuisine. Yet, even in this sunny country, it can get chilly, and such dishes are handy. I was enchanted by the taste of a soup that can be somewhat prematurely called Greek chicken soup.

The traditional chicken soup we often cook on Sunday is a broth made from meat with added vegetables. It's best to use several types of meat. The vegetable set is fixed, as are the so-called soup greens. Greek chicken soup, on the other hand, is based on chicken broth, but the additives are completely different. One of them is pre-roasted meat.

Fennel from Italy

At the beginning, you might notice quite a few differences. However, both soups are incredibly aromatic and filling. The list of ingredients for Greek soup might intrigue you with two ingredients. We practically don't use them in the dishes of this type. The first is fennel, the root of the fennel plant. It's trendy in Mediterranean dishes. It gives the soup a deep aroma because it is rich in essential oils. The second ingredient is something fruity.

Lemon in the broth

Fruit is rarely used to season soups. The exceptions are apples and plums, which enhance the aroma of red borscht, and lemon juice, which adds acidity. In the Greek recipe, these fruits appear twice. One lemon must be thinly sliced and the other squeezed for juice. They influence the soup's aroma and add depth to it.

Greeks love them

Do not omit these fruits. They are essential in Greek cuisine and appear as an ingredient in almost every soup, from the simplest ones based on beans or lentils to fish soups. Greeks also ferment lemons. They taste incredible with feta in this form, but that's another topic. This lemon is also in the recipe for Greek chicken soup that I got from a friend. She warned me not to cook it if I missed any ingredients, as it wouldn't taste the same. However, in the case of this lemon, you can make a small concession. Instead of pickled, you can use fresh lemon.

Greek chicken soup — recipe


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • half a fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 7 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pickled lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 quarts of chicken broth
  • half a previously roasted or grilled chicken
  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • tarragon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon juice
  • 150 g of Greek yogurt

Preparation method:

  1. Slowly heat the olive oil in a relatively large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and fennel, sauté for about 5-8 minutes. Then add the garlic slices and sauté for another minute. Add the pickled lemon and mix everything.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Next, add the finely chopped grilled chicken meat and canned chickpeas.
  5. Season the soup with lemon juice and sprinkle with finely chopped tarragon.
  6. On the plate, add a spoonful of Greek yogurt to each serving.
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