Shawn said that I should call this chicken and spaetzle soup “awesome soup.” That pretty much sums up everything I have to say about it.
If you could turn the perfect spring rainshower into a meal, this soup would be it — it’s calm, restorative, and in a weird way, beautiful. Loaded up with extra celery, peppery watercress and fresh dill, it’s the perfect soup to curl up with on a chilly, damp spring night. The flavors are familiar, but chewy spaetzle and bright citrus notes from fresh lemon juice make it something special and keep you coming back for more. I typically prefer vegetable-based soups, but when it comes to nursing a spring cold or allergies, it really doesn’t get any better than this.
Heating a second pot of water to cook the spaetzle seems fussy, but it serves a purpose; avoid any temptation to simply bring the soup back to a boil and cook in in there instead! While that seems like it would be easier, the heat required to cook the spaetzle will make the chicken tough (you want it to be gently poached). It will also soak up too much of the broth. Using the second pot ensures everything is cooked at the proper temperature and that there’s plenty of soup to go around.
Springtime Chicken & Spaetzle Soup
Prep Time 30 minutes, Total Time 60 minutes
- 1 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 4 Celery Stalks, chopped
- 4 Carrots, sliced
- 2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
- 8 cups Chicken Stock
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Black Pepper
- 1/2 pound boneless, skinless Chicken Breast, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh Dill, chopped
- 3 Eggs
- 1 cup Flour
- 3 Tbs Milk
- 1 bunch (about 1 cup) Watercress, chopped
- Juice from 1 Lemon
Heat the olive oil in a stock pot set over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions begin to become translucent and the carrots soften slightly. Add the garlic, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Season generously with black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Once the carrots are fully cooked, add the chicken breast and dill and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to a rolling boil. Prepare the spaetzle by combining the eggs, flour and milk to form a thick, dough-like batter. Tip your bowl sideways and smooth the batter into a thin layer. Use a spatula to cut the dough into small strips (about 2 inches long and 1/4-inch wide) and nudge them off the side of the bowl and into the boiling water. Let cook for about 3 minutes, then remove the spaetzle with a slotted spoon and add it to the soup.
Stir the watercress into the soup until it is wilted. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Tip: Watercress plays a big part in the flavor of this soup, but if you can’t find it you can substitute spinach or similar peppery greens.