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Soup made the Somali way—layering flavors, textures and colors
Milk Street Bowtie Somali Chicken Soup

Somali Chicken Soup

50 minutes

Free

This brothy soup is particularly good for serving family style. Bring the pot to the table along with the radishes, cabbage and lime wedges, then have diners fill and garnish their bowls they like. Offer a simple homemade or store-bought hot sauce alongside. Hot steamed rice, added to bowls before the soup is ladled in, is a satisfying addition.

1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
2 serrano chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds
4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
4 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems chopped, leaves finely chopped, reserved separately
4 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped, divided
1 1/2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth or water
4 12-ounce bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
2 tablespoons lime juice, plus lime wedges, to serve
Thinly sliced radishes and/or chopped red cabbage, to serve (optional)
Green chili sauce, berbere sauce or other hot sauce, to serve
Ingredients
  • 1

    tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 2

    large yellow onions, chopped

  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper

  • 2

    serrano chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds

  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 4
  • 2
  • 1

    bunch fresh cilantro, stems chopped, leaves finely chopped, reserved separately

  • 4

    plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped, divided

  • quarts low-sodium chicken broth or water

  • 4

    12-ounce bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

  • 2

    tablespoons lime juice, plus lime wedges, to serve

  • Thinly sliced radishes and/or chopped red cabbage, to serve (optional)

  • Green chili sauce, berbere sauce or other hot sauce, to serve

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Somali Chicken Soup

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

50 minutes

Tip

Don't use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Both the bones and skin contribute flavor to the broth.

Ingredients
  • 1

    tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil

  • 2

    large yellow onions, chopped

  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper

  • 2

    serrano chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds

  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

  • 4
  • 2
  • 1

    bunch fresh cilantro, stems chopped, leaves finely chopped, reserved separately

  • 4

    plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped, divided

  • quarts low-sodium chicken broth or water

  • 4

    12-ounce bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

  • 2

    tablespoons lime juice, plus lime wedges, to serve

  • Thinly sliced radishes and/or chopped red cabbage, to serve (optional)

  • Green chili sauce, berbere sauce or other hot sauce, to serve

Step 1 of 4

Heat the oil and cook

1
tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
2
large yellow onions, chopped
½
teaspoon kosher salt
2
serrano chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds
4
medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
4
teaspoons ground coriander
2
teaspoons ground cardamom
1
bunch fresh cilantro, stems only
2
plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped

In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.


Add the chilies, garlic, coriander, cardamom, cilantro stems and half of the tomatoes. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Step 2 of 4

Add the broth and chicken

quarts low-sodium chicken broth or water
4
12-ounce bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

Add the broth and bring to a simmer over high. Submerge the chicken breasts, cover and cook over low until the chicken registers 160°F and is no longer pink at the thickest part, about 30 minutes.

Step 3 of 4

Transfer and shred the chicken

Transfer the chicken to a large plate and set aside to cool. Use a mesh strainer to strain the broth into a large heatproof bowl, discarding the solids, then return the broth to the pot.


When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat into bite-size pieces, discarding the skin and bones.

Step 4 of 4

Return to the broth, season and serve

2
plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
1
bunch fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2
tablespoons lime juice, plus lime wedges, to serve
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
Thinly sliced radishes and/or chopped red cabbage, to serve (optional)
Green chili sauce, berbere sauce or other hot sauce, to serve

Add the chicken to the broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining tomatoes, the cilantro leaves and lime juice.


Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with lime wedges, radishes or cabbage (if using), and hot sauce.

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