Chicken and buttermilk cold soup

Mafalda, a 6-year-old Argentinian girl, who is deeply concerned about humanity and world peace, loves The Beatles and rebels against the current state of the world, hated soup. Totally and vehemently. And, her dislike of soup appears to have been transmitted to her fans, including myself. Not until recently I have started to appreciate soup. I  might eat a mean gazpacho in the peak of Summer, but I used to welcome  soup with the same enthusiasm than a double root-canal. Even away from my parent’s home, I could hear my Mother said “Oh, but is so healthy, it has so many vitamins and minerals…”. Probably today, she would have said something around the lines of “it has loads of antioxidants…” But, over the years my culinary tastes have changed, and I came to appreciate it. In Winter,  a rich soup a rich soup nourish the soul and comfort the body. In Summer, it can be cooling and refreshing. At the end, it seemed to be our parents were right about it.

Before Summer is over, I decided to give it a go to this chicken and buttermilk soup I saw on The Guardian. Dishes by Yotam Ottolenghi very-very-rarely goes wrong, and this Summer soup  looked refreshing, velvety and packed with different flavors and textures. I was not disappointed. In fact, I might even start to serve in Winter, to remind me of the long lost Summer.

Chicken and buttermilk cold soup 


  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 1 large onion, chopped into 2cm dice
  • 3 small whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 free-range chicken drumsticks or thighs, skinned
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
  • Zest of 1 lemon, half of it shaved into strips, the rest grated
  • Salt and white pepper
  • About 800ml chicken stock
  • 250ml buttermilk (or whole milk)
  • 15g each fresh basil, coriander and mint leaves, roughly shredded
  • ½ tbsp sumac


Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic on a low heat for five to 10 minutes, until soft but not coloured. Add the chicken, potatoes, lemon strips, a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of white pepper. Pour in stock just to cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and the chicken is cooked.

Remove and discard the lemon strips, and transfer the chicken to a bowl. Blitz the soup until smooth and leave to cool down. Once cool, stir in the grated lemon zest and buttermilk. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and refrigerate until cold. Take it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before serving, so it’s chilled but not fridge-cold.

Just before serving, shred the chicken off the bones, and fry the shredded meat in the remaining olive oil on a high heat until golden and crispy. Divide the soup among the bowls, add the shredded chicken and herbs, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with sumac and serve.

If you want to serve it as a hot dish, warm it up very gently after stirring in the buttermilk, to avoid curdling

2 Comments on “Chicken and buttermilk cold soup”

  1. […] A couple of tweaks were made though. The original recipe calls for thyme to be added to the pumpkin roast, and sage to finish the dish. I had none, either dry or alive, and simply omitted it. Also, instead of chicken breasts I had chicken thighs. Ended up doing the same that  Yotam Ottholengi does for its chicken and buttermilk cold soup. […]

  2. […] I love to bits my nephews and nieces, but sadly, I don’t know very well. I don’t go to Lisbon that often, maybe once or twice a year and only for a few days. It is a real shame that I missing out the kiddies growing up. I try to keep up with their everyday life, and always find amusing when I found in these kiddies my own quirks. F, the oldest one is fearless in the water. I, the youngest one and my goddaughter, always wakes up in a bed mood and take her time to engage with the rest of the world. And, this Christmas I found out that V, the middle one refuses to eat his soup. “Oh, my dear boy, how can I understand you!”, I thought.  […]

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