Sage, thyme, bay leaf and parsley along with salt are the spices typically used in chicken soup. Black pepper and basil are optional. A commercial poultry seasoning blend is another option for seasoning chicken soup.
Great chicken soup starts with a good broth. Good broth requires boiling bone-in pieces of chicken, vegetables and typical chicken soup seasonings in water until the flavors from the meat and vegetables leach into the water. Chicken wings and dark meat pieces make the most flavorful broth along with carrots, onions and celery.
Starting with cold water ensures that no off tastes transfer to the broth. It is best to start by adding smaller amounts of spices and to adjust them as necessary to taste. Sipping the broth from a stainless steel spoon provides an accurate flavor sample. When the broth has boiled down to the desired level, the cook adds additional seasonings to taste.
Adding chopped chicken and vegetables, rice, pasta or dumplings to strained broth completes the soup. A simple chicken-noodle soup has just egg noodles and diced chicken in the broth. More complicated recipes, such as mulligatawny, contain many vegetables and additional seasonings, such as curry powder, cloves and nutmeg. For the best chicken soup, texture and appearance need to be considered in addition to flavor when selecting ingredients.