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Serbian Chicken & Eggplant Soup

  • 1 h 15 m
  • 1 h 15 m
Bruce Aidells
“This healthy eggplant and chicken soup recipe, inspired by traditional Serbian cuisine, is seasoned with lemon, herbs, turmeric and two types of paprika. It's packed with vegetables, so the only side you'll need is crusty bread to sop up the delicious broth.”


    • 6 cups peeled, diced (1-inch) eggplant (about 1½ pounds)
    • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon, divided
    • 1½ teaspoons salt, divided
    • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
    • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
    • 2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
    • 2 teaspoons hot Hungarian paprika or ½-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
    • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • 7 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock (or see Slow-Cooker Stock recipe, below)
    • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1 cup half-and-half
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
    • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
    • Lemon wedges for serving


  • 1 Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • 2 Toss eggplant in a medium bowl with ¼ cup oil, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Turn the eggplant over and roast until very soft, 8 to 10 minutes more.
  • 3 Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes more. Sprinkle sweet and hot paprika (or cayenne to taste) over the vegetables and stir until well coated. Stir in the eggplant, parsley, oregano, turmeric and ginger until well mixed. Add broth (or stock) and chicken. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • 4 Whisk half-and-half, egg yolks and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Stir in 1 cup of the hot broth until combined. Gradually stir this mixture back into the pot, taking care that it does not boil, which will scramble the eggs. Whisk in lemon juice and season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • Slow-Cooker Chicken Stock: Cut 1 medium carrot, 1 celery stalk and 1 small onion into 1-inch pieces. Combine with 4 pounds skinless chicken leg quarters, 6 sprigs fresh parsley, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1 crushed garlic clove and 20 whole peppercorns in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add 9 cups water. Cook on High for 4 hours. Strain and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating airtight for up to 1 week or freezing for up to 3 months. Makes: about 10 cups. After straining, this stock has negligible calories, nutrients and sodium.
  • Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.
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