Spicy Chicken Soup With Sweet Potatoes & Cabbage

December  3, 2021
6 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Prop Stylist: Alya Hameedi. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Serves 3 to 4
Author Notes

This is the soup I make when I really need soup. When I’m sick or just sick of cooking. It skips fussy searing for soothing simmering instead. Tender sweet potatoes, silky cabbage, and powerhouse chipotles give me hard El Torito chicken tortilla soup vibes. And don’t skimp on the toppings. Thinly sliced white onion, crunchy crushed Fritos, and fatty sour cream and avocado are what transform this soup into a party. Also try: Amu’s Gingery Chicken Soup With Lentils & Potatoes.

Want to make it your own? Here are my tips for lazy, cozy soup: Make a broth with roughly chunked aromatics (use what you got—skin-on onions, flaccid carrots, wilty celery) and chicken legs, which are loaded with bones and connective tissue for deep flavor without searing or roasting. After a couple episodes of Crime Junkie, drain the broth and return it to the pot. If you’re done for the day, stick it in the fridge and reheat in a day or two. Or turn on another podcast and keep going. To the hot broth, add whatever you’re feeling. Yukon golds instead of sweet potatoes? Kale instead of cabbage? Let that simmer while you pick the meat off the bone. At this point you can portion it into deli containers and freeze for a rainy day. Before digging in, add sizzled spices, chopped tender herbs, or lemon juice or vinegar for some pep in your step. And have fun with toppings. Think creamy yogurt or sour cream, crunchy crackers or chips, and fresh chiles or herbs. You can make chicken soup with whatever you’ve got—no need to leave the house or even put on pants.

Sohla El-Waylly

What You'll Need
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Spicy Chicken Soup With Sweet Potatoes & Cabbage
  • Broth
  • 2 whole chicken legs
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 1 small yellow or white onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf, dried or fresh
  • Soup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 1/2 small green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped, plus adobo to taste
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed parsley leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
  • 2 limes
  • Sour cream or crema, for serving
  • Diced avocado, for serving
  • Sliced white onion, for serving
  • Crushed Fritos, for serving
  1. Make the broth: In a medium Dutch oven, combine all the ingredients. Slowly pour 6 cups of water on top. Bring to a boil over high heat. If foamy white scum floats to the top, skim it off with a ladle, spoon, or small sieve. (Don’t worry about getting all of it—just try to get as much as you can without losing too much broth.) Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 1½ hours, until the chicken is tender and the broth is flavorful.
  2. Strain the broth into a large heatproof vessel (I use a big metal bowl). Return the broth to the Dutch oven. Transfer the chicken to a plate and discard the aromatics.
  3. Make the soup: Bring the broth to a gentle simmer. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Add the sweet potato, cabbage, and chipotle, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, pick the chicken meat off the bone, trying to maintain large chunks. Reserve the meat and discard the bones and skin.
  5. Add the parsley and reserved chicken meat to the soup and stir until the chicken is warmed through. Taste and add lime juice, salt, pepper, and adobo as needed.
  6. Divide the soup into bowls and top with sour cream, avocado, onion, and Fritos. Serve immediately. Store ungarnished leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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  • loriheeks
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Sohla El-Waylly is a Food52 Resident, sharing new riffable recipes every month that'll help you get creative in the kitchen. Watch her cook on YouTube in her new series, Off-Script With Sohla. Before she started developing fun recipes for home cooks, she worked as a chef in N.Y.C. and L.A., briefly owning a restaurant in Brooklyn with her husband and fellow chef, Ham El-Waylly. She lives in the East Village with Ham, their two dogs, and cat. Find out what else she's up to on Instagram @sohlae

6 Reviews

loriheeks March 27, 2023
So DELICIOUS! I did not have the chipotle in adobo as called for so added a seeded and diced jalapeno that I sauted with onion before adding broth to simmer. I made broth from the leftovers of a roasted chicken overnight in a crockpot. I added all the toppings while my husband ate it with only avocado and a splash of lime. Will make again soon with the chipotle. Thank you for an easy dinner staple.
Daphnep74 October 12, 2022
Accidentally forgot to get the chipotles at the store, so had to make a substitution. Used a 6-oz can of green chiles, some smoked paprika, chili powder, and liquid smoke, some other things to approximate the adobo taste. No idea how it compares to the original (which I will try next time! and will remember the darn chipotles!) but it was delicious!
Alicia P. October 9, 2022
Sorry, in the below review I meant to say thighs, not breasts! My bad!
Alicia P. October 4, 2022
This was the best soup I've ever had. I used four skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts but otherwise did everything the same. It was so good. I seasoned the broth very well before putting the potatoes in as another reviewer suggested. It was great.
Jul February 3, 2022
I am going to be super lazy (looking for a house to buy while trying to stage my house to sell.) use good soup broth/stock, use rotisserie chicken and rest of ingredients?
Stephanie R. December 18, 2021
Very simple and tasty. I used 5 thighs instead of the chicken legs to good result. Remember to season early in the potato cooking process—I forgot and the potatoes missed out on having more salt.