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Chicken Soup with Crucifers and Caraway

Servings: 4 to 6

Chicken thighs create a very chickeny broth, but during cooking, they’re not sapped of all their flavor. Croutons take the place of noodles in this hearty soup; be sure the rye bread you use to make them has lots of caraway seeds—they’re a key flavor component.


For the broth

  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 3 lb. skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, very coarsely chopped
  • 8 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 dried bay leaf

For the soup

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 medium head green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup tiny broccoli florets
  • 1 cup tiny cauliflower florets
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter; more as needed
  • 4 slices rye bread with caraway seeds, cut into 1/2- by 3/4-inch squares (about 4 cups)
  • Apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • Toasted caraway seeds, for garnish (optional)


Make the broth

  • Put the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken lightly with 1 tsp. salt. Add the chicken thighs to the pan, skin side down (they should fit in one tight layer), and cook until browned, about 6 minutes. Flip—don’t worry if some skin sticks here and there—and cook for another minute.
  • Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Add 2 quarts of water, and bring to a gentle boil. Cover partially, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 1 hour.
  • Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet and pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer set over another container. Discard the vegetables.
  • When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin. Take the meat off the bones, and shred or cut it into bite-size pieces. (The broth may be made up to 2 days ahead. Refrigerate the chicken and the broth in separate covered containers.)

Make the soup

  • Skim off the layer of fat on top of the broth. Put the broth in a large pot over medium heat. After it has warmed through, add 1-1/2 tsp. salt. Add the cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, and onion, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, put the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bread cubes, stir to coat with the butter, season with 1/4 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring occasionally and adding more butter if needed, until crisp and browned on most sides, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the chicken to the soup, and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
  • Divide the soup among serving bowls. If you like, add a splash of vinegar to each bowl. Divide the croutons among the bowls, garnish with caraway seeds, and serve.


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