Traditional Hen Soup

Traditional Hen Soup

Madeira’s traditional hen soup. Even during the winter months, it never really gets that cold on Madeira. However, this does not mean that comfort food is not an option anymore. This fall/autumn calls for a bowl of homemade traditional hen soup that will warm your soul. Moreover, this traditional hen soup is popular in all of Portugal and is a go-to meal for those who fear they might be catching a cold.

Madeira traditional hen soup

Ingredients (for 8 servings):

  • One whole hen (peeled and head removed)
  • 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsely
  • 3 medium-sized onions (peeled and chopped)
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon, chopped (optional)
  • 200 g carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped chives
  • 2 tomatoes (peeled and quartered)
  • 500 g potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 250 g rice
  • 1 chili pepper, without seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika (sweet or spicy, to taste) 
  • Salt


First place then hen in a deep recipient, then rub it in the juice squeezed from the two lemons. After leaving it for 45 minutes, use a knife to open the hen and remove its liver and put by. Then, fry the hen in oil in a large pan until its color becomes golden on both sides.

When this is done, you can add the quartered tomatoes, the chopped onions, the tarragon and the paprika and a bit of salt. After adding water until the ingredients are covered, add the garlic and chili pepper.

When this is done, cover the pan, and let the soup simmer for 60-75 minutes on low heat.

Thereafter, take the hen out of the pan and remove the meat from the bones. Use a fork and a knife to cut the meat in strips and pieces. These are then added to the pan. Then, with the chopped liver, add the chopped potatoes and carrots, and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Then, add the rice and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Finally, disperse the parsley and chives in the hen soup and stir.

Leave to stand for 5 minutes, and you’re ready to serve your traditional hen soup! Should you be vegetarian, here is a wonderful tomato soup recipe. The gentle effect on your soul is identical 😉

Madeira traditional hen soup
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