Top 8: Chicken soup put to the test to find the best autumn warmers

There's nothing like a bowl of chicken soup when you're feeling under the weather
Top 8: Chicken soup put to the test to find the best autumn warmers

We focused on chicken soup with the best chicken content and good flavour.

The season of colds and chest infections is fast approaching. A sympathetic smile goes a long way, as does something warming from the kitchen. Keeping hydrated is important, and hot water with a slice of lemon and fresh ginger will help to speed recovery. Add fresh turmeric, black pepper, and a sliver of fresh chilli for further nourishment.

We can boil a chicken carcass covered in water for 30 minutes for a cure-all. It can be drunk by the cup as is or further flavoured with onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. It is amazingly restorative, and you will find plenty of hidden pieces of meat that come off the bone. It can be cooled and poured into freezer trays for later use — very handy for a potato or mushroom soup thickened with a handful of breadcrumbs. 

There is chicken broth for sale in the Chicken Inn, English market Cork (€3/500ml), Sadie’s Kitchen chicken bone broth (€4.50/€3.5ml) and Baxters do a canned broth (€2.20/400g) in supermarkets.

For today’s survey, we focused on chicken soup with the best chicken content and good flavour delivering the most protein to sustain us and the least amount of salt, which should be avoided when we are under the weather.

Lidl Sri Lankan Chicken 400g €1.99

Lild Deluxe Sri Lankan style chicken soup. Pictures: Eddie O'Hare
Lild Deluxe Sri Lankan style chicken soup. Pictures: Eddie O'Hare

In a base of 22% tomatoes, a decent 6% shredded chicken is blended with 6% coconut milk, spinach, onions, celery, carrots, coriander. Nicely plump vegetables — it comes with  celery, carrots, onions which are full flavoured and medium hot spicing from garlic and ginger purées, chillies, lime juice, cumin. Salt at 0.54% is fine, protein is average at 2.4%. The net result was lively, tasty chicken flavours with added warming spices. Tops for all tasters.

Score: 9

Erin Chicken & white wine condensed soup 295g €2.20

Erin Cream of chicken & White wine soup
Erin Cream of chicken & White wine soup

With 4.5% white wine there is added richness to 4% chicken delivering a low 1.2% protein. Salt is a fair 0.6%. A can of water is added to dilute, or half water and milk which will add more protein. Lemon juice, garlic and onion powders add interest. The flavour enhancer is monosodium glutamate. All tasters liked this one.

Score: 8.25

M&S Chunky vegetable & chicken soup 400g €1.50

M&S Chunky vegetable chicken soup
M&S Chunky vegetable chicken soup

A decent 8% chicken along with chicken stock delivers good chicken flavour. There are also carrots, leeks, and celery, deepened in flavour by tomato paste. There was good weight to all of it and it could make a meal. Tasters enjoyed it. Good price.

Score: 8.5

Aldi Newgrange Chicken & vegetable soup 1 kg €3.29

Newgrange chicken & vegetable soup
Newgrange chicken & vegetable soup

Chunky with plenty of vegetables, this lacked a full chicken flavour, despite a relatively decent 4.5% chicken. There are 14% carrots, 10% potato, 6.5% turnip, 4.5% celery, red lentils, onion and peas 2.5% each with cream, buttermilk delivering 2.37% protein and salt not too high at 0.91%. Chicken bouillon has monosodium glutamate. Tasters enjoyed the clean vegetable tastes. Gluten free, made in Co Meath from local produce.

Score: 8

Baxters Cream of Chicken 400g €2.20

Baxters cream of chicken soup
Baxters cream of chicken soup

In this canned soup a relatively decent 5% chicken delivers 2.2% protein, and 0.63% salt is not a worry. Chicken stock is thickened with cornflour and enriched with cream, onion, sage and yeast extract. White pepper was noticed by our eight-year old-taster who liked its heat. The chicken flavour was low and while there were no pieces to get our teeth into, it was liked by tasters.

Score: 7.5

Cully Sully Chicken and vegetable 400g €2.99

Cully & Sully chicken & vegetable soup
Cully & Sully chicken & vegetable soup

Gluten free, this has a moderate 4% chicken with fresh flavoured 19% carrots, 11% potato, 8% onion, leek 4%, 2.5% celery, with chicken and vegetable stock enriching the flavour. Protein at 1.9% is low enough and salt at 0.80% is acceptable.  It amounts to clean tastes of each ingredient, blended with cream for a product that tasters liked.

Score: 8

Simply Better Irish chicken soup 400g €2.19

Dunnes stores Irish creamy chicken soup
Dunnes stores Irish creamy chicken soup

Protein here is 3% from a decent 8% chicken, which it’s comforting to know is Irish. (We came across one inexpensive soup made with chicken from Brazil which did not make our Top 8). This one is naturally thickened with cream and butter and so is gluten-free. Salt is a commendably low 0.55%, but a little salt added at home may be needed to bring out the chicken flavour.

Score: 8

Heinz Cream of chicken 400g €1.79

Heinz cream of chicken soup
Heinz cream of chicken soup

This canned soup has 3% chicken 3%, cream modified cornflour and wheatflour, which gives a less naturally thickened, gloopy texture. Protein is a low 1.6%, salt is low too at 0.6%. Onion and spice extracts lifted this above many other samples to make our Top 8. Tasters thought they would use it to add leftover chicken and serve with pasta or rice.

Score: 7

 

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