It’s that time of year where winter is thawing and spring feels like it’s right around the corner. It was also around this time, three years ago, that I met my soulmate. So this warmth in the air and the smell of green shoots poking up through the dirt always makes me feel expectant, in a really good way.

The funny thing about meeting my soulmate is that I wasn’t expecting it. I certainly wasn’t ready. But as we got to know each other, I realized that sometimes the best things in life are unexpected.

Soulmate Soup is a comforting but bright chicken soup that you’ve never had before but need to try. It has napa cabbage and jalapeño; fish sauce and chicken broth; perilla and parsley. It’s an unexpected collision of flavors that really work.

So Soulmate Soup is a nod to the wonderful, unexpected things in life — a manifestation of hope in soup form. Making use of produce that’s available in the grocery store year-round, this recipe is a hold-me-over dish that warms me from the inside out but also makes me think of greener days to come.

Miij, @fruitandsup


Serves 6
  • 5-6 chicken thighs (about 3 lbs), skin-on bone-in
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 napa cabbage
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 one-inch ginger slices
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 64 oz of chicken broth
  • 3 scallions

  • 4 cups of herbs like parsley, chives, cilantro including tender stems
  • 2 cups neutral oil like grapeseed or avocado
  • Soy sauce, fish sauce, mirin and apple cider vinegar to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Perilla leaves, optional
Cookware Used
The Dutchess
6.75-Quart Cast-Iron Dutch Oven
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Beyond Measure Duo
Glass Measuring Cup Set
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8.5-Inch Stainless Steel Sauce Pan
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Brown chicken. Salt and pepper the chicken thighs. Prep The Dutchess with a splash of olive oil over medium high heat. Cook skin side down for 8-10 minutes or until the skins release from the pot. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove chicken from pot onto a plate and set aside to cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 325.

Add aromatics. Add yellow onion, garlic, ginger, and 1 sliced jalapeño to the pot with the brown bits. Deglaze with a splash of mirin. Cook for a few minutes until the vegetables are fragrant and slightly translucent.

Simmer. Add chicken broth. Water and an anchovy “bouillon” cube is a great substitute. Add a splash of soy sauce and fish sauce. Slice the thick white part of the napa cabbage outer leaves and add to the soup. Save the tender, leafy parts to add later.

Prep chicken. While the soup simmers, separate the chicken skins and place on a sheet tray. Shred the rest of the meat by hand or with forks and add it all back into the soup, bones included to add depth to the broth. Cook the chicken skins in the oven for 40 minutes or until crispy. Season with flaky salt.

Make herb oil. In a blender, combine all the herbs and the neutral oil. Blend until well incorporated. Transfer to Saucy and cook on low for 20 minutes. Then, strain into a bowl and cool over an ice bath.

Season. Season the soup with salt, pepper, and a splash of apple cider vinegar to taste. Add in tender leafy napa leaves and scallions. Adjust with more mirin and/or apple cider vinegar as needed.

Finish. Top off the soup with crispy chicken skin, sliced jalapeños, herbs, and sliced perilla leaves on top. Finish with herb oil and enjoy piping hot.