Moorish Chicken Soup

moorish chicken soup

I was vaccinated earlier his week and a couple of friends warned me that I might have flu like symptoms, so being prepared, I bought a chicken to make chicken soup. I didn’t expected to blog anything, particularly since I’ve blogged chicken soup before. Several days past, with no symptoms whatsoever, so I got on with making soup regardless. It commenced normally, but while making the stock, el Duende sat on my shoulder and convinced me to change course …it all started with whispers of cumin – the result being a Moorish Chicken Soup, which tasted so good, it had to be posted. For a description on what makes something Moorish, see my post here.

Chicken Stock recipe:

a 3lb chicken
1 large onion (cut into 12 pieces)
6 cloves garlic (squashed and peeled)
1 stick celery (chopped)
1 large carrot (chopped)
cilantro/coriander stalks
a few sprigs rosemary, thyme, sage
2 bay leaves
sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
3 pints water
extra virgin olive oil

Brown a medium chicken in olive oil and once it has taken some colour, add the chopped onion, followed by the other vegetables. Give them a few minutes in the hot oil before pouring on about 3 pints of water, with the herbs and seasoning.

Bring the stock to a simmer and skim off any foam floating on top of the liquid. Cover and cook gently for an hour in a preheated oven at 160ºC.  Turn the chicken over half way through to cook it evenly. When done, remove the chicken and allow it to cool. Pick out the vegetables and herbs (discard them), then sieve the liquid to remove any impurities. When the bird is cool enough, chop the meat into bite sized pieces, after removing all the skin and bones.


Chicken Soup recipe (serves 6):

the meat from a poached 3lb chicken
3 rashers smoked streaky bacon (chopped)
1 large Spanish onion (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 large carrot (chopped)
1 large stick celery (chopped)
1 large green capsicum pepper (chopped)
1 preserved lemon (chopped)
1 dessertspoon tomato purée
2 large squirts anchovy paste
a pinch of ancho chilli (chopped)
a pinch of chipotle (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera picante
1/2 teaspoon pimetón de la Vera dulce
1/4 bunch coriander (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 dessertspoon plain flour
2 bay leaves
3 pints chicken stock
extra virgin olive oil

preserved lemons

While I was cooking the stock, I started to think I should add cumin to the soup. Chilli seemed to go with that and I’d seen Karen’s Mexican Chicken Soup earlier in the week along with a fabulous documentary on Diana Kennedy. I was intending to squeeze the juice of a lemon over the finished dish (just before serving), but once the  turmeric went in, preserved lemon was a must!

Start by frying the chopped onion in olive oil, until it becomes translucent. Add the bacon and cook until it has changed colour. Stir in the carrot, celery and garlic followed by the green pepper (after a few minutes). Sprinkle on the dry herbs, chilli, pimentón and flour. Mix to make a roux. Pour in half a pint of stock to make a paste. Chop the preserved lemon (removing any pips) – this goes into the casserole along with the tomato purée, anchovy paste, coriander and bay leaves.


Add the remaining stock and stir well. Simmer and cover the casserole, then remove to a preheated oven at 160ºC for a couple of hours. Check the soup every 30 minutes or so – above I added  pimentón de la Vera later (but it would normally go in before all the stock – I was making things up as I went along, according to taste). Do adjust the seasoning as you see fit. I left the lid off for the final 30 minutes, so that a skin formed on top.

sopa de pollo

This is a wonderful restorative soup, which will leave you with a pleasant rosy glow. Aside from the obvious Moorish flavours, the citrus taste had a beautiful hint of orange blossom to it. Serve with toasted sourdough bread and butter with a glass of Gall Negre (Black Cockerel) from the Penedès.

About Mad Dog
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31 Responses to Moorish Chicken Soup

  1. Eha says:

    Mad, I am so pleased el Duende decided to come sit on your shoulder . . . he normally has the habit of not leaving me alone in regard to a whole number of issues. Well, he surely did well with you leading to this very moreish Moorish soup and all the history besides ! (Sorry, he just made me say that !) Glad you have had the jab = hope it will function as well as hoped – and thanks for telling you escaped unwanted symptoms with it – perchance it would be wise to have some of that lovely brew ready for the second dose which supposedly is the one creating problems ! We are barely beginning with the vax rollout here with quite a few errors already . . . but we virtually have no community disease at the moment. Daresay I’ll be able to have the vector Oxford by mid-year. Back to your chicken soup . . . the chilli and the garlic surely would drive anything even vaguely ‘nasty’ away leaving a pretty special offering indeed ! Shall not wait for my jab but make soonest . . .

  2. jmcheney says:

    What a beautiful concoction, Mad. This soup would cure the Epizootic! I’ll surely make my version of it before I have my second shot on March 6. Thank you for posting yours & stay healthy & well.

  3. Karen says:

    Mad Dog, This is one time I have every ingredient to make one of your recipes…including the preserved lemon that I recently bought. I was feeling brave about going to the market as I have had both of my vaccination shots (no problems with either) and when I spied the jar with two preserved lemons, it called my name or perhaps it too was el Duende. Anyway, your soup sounds delicious!. Thank you for the shoutout as well. 😘

  4. Sounds lovely! Now I just have to find me some preserved lemons.. I’m on it. And a bottle Gall Negre, too!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Ha ha – thanks Frank – I keep thinking I should make them, but they are much cheaper already preserved. No doubt, if I had a lemon tree, I’d be bottling and giving them away for Christmas.

  5. Ron says:

    So, that little guy sitting on my shoulder telling me to go crazy in a different and good way is el Duende. He certainly guided you in making what sounds to be a very good chicken soup in sickness and in good health.
    Glad to hear you’ve got your first jab. We’ve now finished vaccinating our folks in care homes and all that work there as well as the folks who get care at home. We’ve also got all the first responders, hospital staff, and such done. Next week, they start the 85 and older and then we progress on. In the meantime, I remain hidden out in our humble abode…

    • Mad Dog says:

      Ha ha – thanks Ron! El Duende is supposed to be the spirit who inhabits Flamenco singers, musicians and dancers (in the moment), giving them something extra in their performance, but I’m sure there’s an equivalent spirit in the kitchen 😉

  6. Joséphine says:

    Bien appétissant !

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