Not Your Mother’s Chicken Soup: Creamy Lemon Pasta Chicken Soup

“Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living.  For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish. ”  Louis P DeGouy , The Soup Book, 1949


Several years ago when I was under the weather, a kind neighbor delivered a steaming pot of the most delicious “chicken soup”.  This soup was a revelation, totally unexpected in flavor and I often remember how it nurtured me back to health.  It had bright lemony overtones, barely cooked, crunchy sugar snaps peas and al dente penne pasta in a creamy base.  Definately not the chicken soup I grew up with.  I’ve tried to recreate the recipe here.

Every culture has its own tradition of soup and archaeologists have traced soup-making back to 20,000 years BC.  It is the perfect communal meal, ideal for sharing.  There is a meditative quality to the chopping of the ingredients while the anticipation of enjoying the dish builds as the seductive aroma fills the home during the long simmering.  It is a dish that evokes home like no other.

This soup is satisfying as a meal on its own and it is a perfect late winter transitional dish with its spring-like ingredients: sugar snap peas, lemony highlights and  fresh parsley.  Whatever your tradition of soup is, try a new variation of “chicken soup” and experience a burst of springtime flavor and color.  Who knows?  It could become a new family favorite.


6 Main-Course or 12 Starter Servings

3 T butter

1 c sliced celery

1 c shredded carrots

1 c sliced mushrooms

1 diced yellow onion

3 T flour

6 c chicken stock

1 1/2 c light cream

1/4 c packed, chopped Italian parsley

1 1/2 c uncooked chicken breast meat, cut in 1/2 inch pieces

1 c penne pasta, cooked al dente

1 c sugar snap peas, cut in half, diagonally

juice of 2 lemons

salt and pepper

Melt butter in a soup pot.  Add celery, carrots, mushrooms and onions and cook over low heat until onion is translucent.image

Add flour and stir thoroughly for about 2 minutes.  imageGradually add chicken stock, stirring constantly, and heat through, about 5 minutes.  imageAdd cream and parsley and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add chicken and simmer another 5 minutes.  (Soup can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated until ready to use.) Add cooked pasta and sugar snap peas and simmer another 2 minutes.  Finish with lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste.


“Soup is the song of the hearth…and the home”  Louis P DeGouy, The Soup Book, 1949


Virgin and Child with Milk Soup, Gerard David, c1510