Chicken Soup with Stelline

March 06th, 2009  | Category: Chicken, Soup


I’ve been silent for such a long time. You must be tired of looking at Brussels Sprouts day after day. Truly sorry for that. I didn’t even have a chance to share how happy I felt when I heard that Cafe Fernando was chosen as one of The World’s 50 Best Food Blogs by Times Online!  It is a great honor to be included in a list full of my heroes and heroines. Take a look at the list and you’ll know what I mean.

I’ve also missed the World Nutella Day (which is one of the most sacred days of the year for me),  as well as Sara’s wonderful posts about Istanbul.

And why? Let’s say there might be career change for me in the very near future. I have been working on the most exciting project ever, which required me to work day and night for the past three weeks and will continue to do so for the next couple of months. It is not related to food at all, but another subject that I’m equally (if not more) passionate about. I hate to be a tease, but I promise, I’ll spill the beans once the deal is closed. So until then, this chicken soup will have to do. And then maybe a delicious salad. And then maybe a recipe inspired by this secret project. Stay tuned! Oh my God, stay soooo tuned!

We all know that chicken soup is regarded as a remedy for the common cold, but did you know that two scientists actually proved that claim? According to an article published in the medical journal “Chest”, chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro! Doesn’t that sound… exciting? And a bit hard to understand? In layman’s terms, it means chicken soup helps reduce common cold symptoms. Another important question: Does every chicken soup recipe inhibit neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro? Is it possible to deviate from this proven recipe without sacrificing its medicinal qualities?

What I understand from the findings of the study is this: As long as the chicken to water ratio is similar to the recipe tested, the answer is yes. With that in mind, I combined some of my favorite flavors and came up with the recipe below.


I prepare my chicken soup in a pressure cooker to extract every bit of goodness from the chicken bones. I always use leg quarters with back bones attached and fresh ginger for its heavenly aroma.

Once the soup is strained and the fat removed, I then add half a cup of Stelline (star-shaped pasta) together with the chicken pieces and garnish with a couple twigs of cilantro.

If you don’t own a pressure cooker, you can also prepare it in a large pot. Make sure to adjust the cooking time (I’d say an extra 20-40 minutes depending on the toughness of the bird).




  • 3 chicken leg quarters with back bones
  • 5 slices of fresh ginger
  • 10-15 black peppercorns
  • 8-10 twigs cilantro (reserve half of it for garnish)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 leeks, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp sea salt (or 1 tbsp table salt)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup Stelline (star-shaped pasta)


  1. Place all the ingredients except Stelline and half of the cilantro twigs into a pressure cooker, seal and bring to full pressure over high heat (approximately 15 minutes). Reduce heat to medium high and cook for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove pressure cooker from heat; use quick-release following manufacturer’s instructions or allow pressure to drop on its own.
  3. Open pressure cooker, strain the broth into another pot and let cool.
  4. Discard the vegetables. Remove meat from the chicken parts and reserve (discard skin and bones).
  5. To remove the fat from the broth immediately, pass it through a coffee filter.
  6. Otherwise, cover the pot and place it in your refrigerator for at least 3 hours (overnight is best). As the liquid cools, the fat will rise to the surface. Remove your soup from refrigerator. All of the fat will have risen to the top of the pot and will have solidified. Scrape fat off of the surface with a spoon; either discard or freeze for later use (I saute my vegetables with it).
  7. Once the fat is removed, place the pot over medium high heat, add the reserved chicken meat and Stelline and cook the soup for another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve hot, garnished with a couple twigs of cilantro.
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  1. 1 - chiara VALERIO on March 6th, 2009

    at last Cenk! BSprouts are actually the only food I cannot eat… And during the last couple of days I couldn’t neither see them…
    What a relief… you’re back. I love tavukçorbas!
    All the best for your project.

  2. 2 - Sarah J on March 6th, 2009

    You are such a tease! Congratulations again on the blog recognition. Good luck in your new venture, I’m eager to hear what you’re going to dive into. Hope it leaves time to revisit Nutella. Best wishes, Sarah

  3. 3 - Claire Mason on March 6th, 2009

    Isn’t that an interesting article? I guess I was right to believe my Grandma, ha ha. I wonder if chicken soup would exhibit the same anti-migratory effects on the granulocytes if it were a different kind of infection than a cold? That’s a lot to think about.

    I’ve honestly never had a chicken soup with ginger in it. And the stelline make it look so nice. Got to give this one a try, maybe the next time a cold is looming.

  4. 4 - The Hungry Mouse on March 6th, 2009

    Oh, this looks great! Congrats on making that list, too! How exciting. Can’t wait to hear what you’re working on. 😀


  5. 5 - Phoo-D on March 6th, 2009

    I never knew the little star pasta had a different name! They are perfect for a comforting and whimsical soup. I love the inclusion of ginger in the broth – I think it has medicinal qualities too.

  6. 6 - Erik on March 6th, 2009

    I love the leg quarter cut of chicken! Not only does it have the most flavor, it also tends to be the cheapest cut. Also, the inclusion of ginger in this recipe can only help even more with cold symptoms. I remember reading somewhere that combining ginger with black pepper made the ginger more effective health-wise. Do you know if this is true?
    Either way, it must be tasty! I think I will try a variant on this recipe this weekend, substituting rice for the pasta (no gluten for me, unfortunately).
    Thumbs up on this one!

  7. 7 - Özge on March 6th, 2009

    well, great to hear the news of this exciting new project of yours! 🙂 but how come you don’t keep your turkish readers so updated? or did i miss that one? anyways, i’m really excited to find out what you’re little secret’s all about!

  8. 8 - Manggy on March 6th, 2009

    Ugh! You ARE being a tease! Well then don’t wait too long before revealing it. 😉 And congratulations on the well-deserved citation! Chicken soup ain’t exactly the celebratin’ kind of food, but it does look marvelously delicious 🙂

  9. 9 - MsGourmet on March 6th, 2009

    I like the idea of adding fresh ginger… and your plates are gorgeous!

  10. 10 - Christie @ Fig & Cherry on March 7th, 2009

    I’ve got some stelline in the cupboard right now that’s destined for this dish 🙂

  11. 11 - Chuck on March 7th, 2009

    Congrats, on making the top 50! Hopefully my blog will one day too. Your soup looks delicious! Looking forward to your new project. Good luck!

  12. 12 - Sophie on March 7th, 2009

    Yes, congrats on being in the top 50 !! Well done!! This soup looks really appetizing!!

  13. 13 - iWalk on March 8th, 2009

    How can you always make them so beautiful!

  14. 14 - Shannalee on March 8th, 2009

    I just wanted to tell you that your blog is beautiful. I found it a few weeks ago through another food site, and I immediately spent an hour or so looking around. The design is stunning!

    PS: The post the references Golden Girls was, possibly, my favorite. I will always think of you when I watch that show now.

  15. 15 - Robin at Caviar and Codfish on March 8th, 2009

    Congratulations on your new project, whatever it may be! And thank you for the soup, I’m content to sip on it until you are ready to spill the beans. 🙂

  16. 16 - naz on March 8th, 2009

    All the best for your new project! “another subject that I’m equally (if not more) passionate about.” hmm…photography, maybe? Whatever it is, I wish you lots of luck!

  17. 17 - mallory elise on March 9th, 2009

    your first photo looks like a flag again. chicken soup nation 🙂

  18. 18 - joey on March 9th, 2009

    I definitely believe in the curative effects of chicken soup…especially if it has pretty star pasta 🙂

  19. 19 - Cynthia on March 9th, 2009

    Well you still managed to tease and peak our interest. Can’t wait to hear more about this project.

  20. 20 - Lal on March 10th, 2009

    Cenk, Dad told me; you will make money if i would visit your blog ???

  21. 21 - Cenk on March 10th, 2009

    Lal – Your father is right! But the thing is, you would have to spend your every waking hour reading my blog for me to make a lot of money. And even then, it might take me a lifetime to become rich – and probably 100 lifetimes to become as rich as your father. So honey, forget about my blog and go to sleep!

  22. 22 - sefa on March 14th, 2009

    I like it this soup 🙂

  23. 23 - Irene on March 19th, 2009

    Me too, very much!

  24. 24 - Allen of EOL on March 20th, 2009

    Congrats on the the top 50 list! Totally deserved!

    Look forward to hearing of your new project — a Turkish adaptation of the Golden Girls?

  25. 25 - Dawn Smith on March 21st, 2009

    firstly congratulations for being your blog in top 50. soup sounds delicious..i wanna try it..i always have a rough time to find ingredients …finally i found a great resource here’s something for those who really had a hard time to find ingredients.

  26. 26 - Cenk on March 22nd, 2009

    Thank you Dawn! And thanks for the link.

  27. 27 - GastroStu on August 10th, 2011

    Delicious looking soup. Never seen Stelline before? I’ll have to keep my eyes open for that.

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