Jamaican Chicken Soup is one of our favourite spicy soup recipes to cook from the Caribbean.
Our authentic Jamaican Soup recipe is quick and easy to make, ready to serve in under an hour.
You’ll love spooning through a bowl of homemade Jamaican Chicken Soup featuring flavourful garlic, onions, thyme, allspice, cilantro and spicy Scotch Bonnet Pepper.
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What Is Soup?
Soup is a liquid food, generally served warm or hot (but can also be served cold like gazpacho), that is prepared by combining meat or vegetables with stock or water.
Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavours are extracted, creating a rich broth.
Soups are similar to stews, and in some cases there may not be a clear distinction between the two. Soups generally have more liquid (broth) than chunkier and heartier stews.
In traditional French cuisine, soups are classified into two groups: clear soups (bouillon and consomme) and thick soups (purees, bisques, veloutes).
Purées are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from puréed shellfish or vegetables thickened with cream; cream soups may be thickened with béchamel sauce; and veloutés are thickened with eggs, butter, and cream.
History of Soup
Evidence of the existence of soup can be found as far back as about 20,000 BC. Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers, such as clay pots. To boil the water hot rocks were used.
The word soup comes from French soupe (broth), which comes through Vulgar Latin suppa (“bread soaked in broth”) from a Germanic source, from which also comes the word “sop”, a piece of bread used to soak up soup or a thick stew.
The word restaurant (meaning “restoring”) was first used in France in the 16th century, to refer to a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors, that was advertised as a cure to physical exhaustion. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in such soups. This prompted the use of the modern word restaurant for eating establishments.
In America, the first colonial cookbook was published by William Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1742, based on Eliza Smith’s The Compleat Housewife; or Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion, and it included several recipes for soups and bisques.
English cooking dominated early colonial cooking; but as new immigrants arrived from other countries, other national soups gained popularity. In particular, German immigrants living in Pennsylvania were famous for their potato soups. In 1794, Jean Baptiste Gilbert Payplat dis Julien, a refugee from the French Revolution, opened an eating establishment in Massachusetts called The Restorator, and became known as the “Prince of Soups”.
Travel to the Caribbean by Cooking Jamaican Chicken Soup at Home
I love traveling to Latin America and the Caribbean.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in the Caribbean, from authentic markets to award winning restaurants.
For over ten years, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Jamaican Chicken Soup via adventures that had me sailing from turquoise waters and white sandy beaches in Jamaica, Cuba, Curacao and Puerto Rico.
I ate Jamaican Chicken Soup in the dining rooms of the island’s best restaurants found at Round Hill Resort, Half Moon Resort, The House Boat Grill, Scotchies Jerk Restaurant and several local eateries during a rural Jamaican road trip.
Where To Eat Authentic Jamaican Soup
Haven’t traveled to the Caribbean before? It may be helpful to first sample healthy Jamaican Soup at a local restaurant to better understand how the soup is served. You’ll get an idea for the desired chopped vegetables and spice level. You’ll also find inspiration on what to pair with Jamaican Soup such as such as fresh salads, jerk barbecue, corn on the cob and beans with rice.
In Toronto, popular Caribbean restaurants that may serve a traditional Jamaican Chicken Soup include Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen, Pat’s Homestyle Jamaican Restaurant, Allwyn’s Bakery, Nicey’s Eatery, Jerk King, Mr. Jerk and The Real Jerk.
My Family Loves Chicken Soup
My dad would often make cream of tomato soup and serve a bowl with grilled cheese sandwiches and pickles. Our family also loved slurping through bowls of Butternut Squash Soup, French Onion Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup.
During October in Ontario we’d often visit popular Fall Fairs in Norfolk County, Niagara and Prince Edward County to go on fun rides, run through corn mazes and purchase fresh local fruits and vegetables at the peak of harvest season.
Our Jamaican Chicken Soup recipe features plump Caribbean-style dumplings called spinners. The dough is simple, made of all purpose flour and water. You can roll the dough into tiny balls or as a Jamaican chef would, by creating slender logs by rolling the dough between your hands.
While the desired texture for many soup dumplings is to produce a light and fluffy product so they float in broth, Jamaican spinners are dense and hearty. The poplar dumplings are known to locals as “spinners and sinkers” because their long, tapered shape causes them to sink and spin when bubbling in a pot.
Jamaican Chicken Soup Health Benefits
Our homemade Jamaican Dumpling Soup recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of leeks can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
All varieties of pumpkin (or squash) are nutritious, but butternut squash is a superfood because it contains high levels of carotenoids, which help combat cancer and support skin health.
An excellent source of vitamin A and the phytochemical beta-carotene, carrots help keep your eyes and bones healthy, and may help protect against several types of cancer.
Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.
Rich in energy-boosting manganese and anti-inflamatory phytochemicals, thyme may help keep your blood and immune system healthy.
A good source of bone-strengthening vitamin K, cilantro is also rich in antioxidants that help protect the eyes from damage by free radicals.
Jamaican Soup Tips
This healthy homemade soup is quick and easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips for first time soup makers!
- Use a large cast iron dutch oven with a high rim to reduce splatter when cooking and pureeing the vegetables.
- We suggest using a high quality rubber spatula spoon when making soup so you can easily stir, scrape down the side of the pot and sip to check if it needs to be seasoned further with more salt before spooning into bowls.
- If you are practicing a gluten free diet feel free to leave out the dumplings. Or use a gluten free tea biscuit mix, cornmeal dumpling or cassava dumpling instead.
- If corn on the cob is in season, substitute canned or frozen corn by boiling 2 whole corn (cut in half).
- Feel free to get creative with your Jamaican Chicken Soup recipe by adding other popular island vegetables such as sweet potatoes, breadfruit, cassava, plantain, cho cho or okra.
- If you want a spicier soup prick the Scotch Bonnet Pepper with a pairing knife or fork before adding it into the pot.
Crispy Chicken Cracklings
Our recipe for Jamaican Chicken Soup is extra special because it showcases the versatility of chicken flavour and texture.
The thighs are first roasted in the oven and then once cooled the seasoned skins are removed and placed on a baking sheet. The crunchy skins then bake for an additional 10 minutes and transform into crispy Chicken Cracklings.
The thighs are later removed from the bone and warmed in the soup before serving. The meat is served perfectly soft and tender. The soup is served with crunchy chicken skin on top, offering a sublime textural contrast for poultry lovers!
What To Serve with Jamaican Chicken Soup
If you’re hosting a large dinner party you might want to serve our healthy Jamaican Chicken Soup as an appetizer before serving heartier mains.
We love serving soup with Osaka Okonomayaki, Calgary Ginger Beef, Keto Jalapeno Poppers, Instant Pot Short Rib Ragu, Cheesy Polenta, Vegetarian Roti Canai Curry, Gruyere Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Old School Cheese and Onion Pie, Green Onion Cake, Baked Mediterranean Chicken Thighs, Baked Chicken Cracklings, Homemade Savoury Pickle Pie, Indian Crepes, Vietnamese Crepe Bánh Xèo, Tartiflette Reblochon or Ricotta Gnocchi.
After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe or Cinnamon Babka For Chocolate Lovers.
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Storing Jamaican Chicken Soup
If you have leftover Jamaican Chicken Soup you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week. To reheat simply zap it in the microwave or simmer in a small saucepan on the stove.
We love doubling our soup recipes so can store leftovers in the freezer and save time on cooking in the kitchen. We suggest storing leftover soup in Pyrex freezer safe containers that have a snug lid so there’s not spilling. My mother often uses old glass pasta sauce jars to store soup in the freezer.
Be sure to let your soup reach room temperature before storing it in the freezer. If you add a hot jar of soup to a cold freezer it will significantly reduce the interior temperature and potentially spoil your food.
How To Make Jamaican Chicken Soup
Homemade Jamaican Chicken Soup
- Dutch Oven or Large Pot
- chef knife
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- baking sheet
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- 2 lbs Chicken thighs bone-in skin on
- 4 cups Butternut squash seeded and diced
- 1 cup Corn
- 1 Spanish onion sliced
- 2 Garlic cloves minced
- 1 Russet potato peeled and quartered
- 6 Sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 Carrots peeled and sliced
- 1 Scotch Bonnet Pepper
- 6 Allspice berries
- 8 cups Chicken stock
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Cilantro garnish
- 2 cup All purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Water
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place chicken thighs skin side up on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 35 minutes, until chicken skin is light brown and just starting to get crispy.
- Let chicken thighs cool for 10 minutes so you can remove the skin by slipping them off the thigh meat. Set aside chicken thighs to use later.
- Place chicken crackling exterior skin side up on a baking sheet and return to oven for 10-15 more minutes. Skin should be dark brown and crispy before removing from the oven.
- In a large dutch oven, add diced squash and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes covered with a lid.
- Add sliced onion, potato, garlic, thyme sprigs, carrots, and Scotch Bonnet pepper. Simmer on low heat while making the dumplings.
- In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup flour and a little bit of water to make dough. Lightly knead the dough until the consistency is firm and not too sticky. Roll the dough in between the palm of your hands to form spherical dumplings.
- Drop the dumplings into your homemade Jamaican Soup and stir.
- Add the Allspice berries, corn and bone-in chicken thighs. Cook for another 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the spicy pepper and chicken bones from the pot and discard.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and chicken skin cracker. Serve in large soup bowls.
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