Between the flu and strep, it feels like everyone I know is sick these days, which means it’s time for a nice big pot of Jewish penicillin. Chicken soup!
No two pots of chicken soup are exactly alike, in my experience, and I don’t claim to have the very best chicken soup recipe in Jewish history. But it’s rich and healthy, and I’d love to share it with you.
You’ll need chicken, carrots, onion, celery, sweet potato, zucchini, fresh garlic, salt and, of course, water. Peel the carrots, sweet potato and onion. It’s best to leave the peel on the zucchini, or else it completely disintegrates in the soup. Cut the vegetables into chunks, not too small.
Put all the ingredients into the pot (it’s okay if the chicken is frozen) and bring to a rapid boil. Skim the surface and remove all floating scum. Turn down to a very low simmer, and cook for 4–6 hours. (The longer it simmers, the better the soup will be. You can even cook it longer.)
Let the soup cool and refrigerate it overnight. The fat will rise to the top and harden, making it easy to remove (see picture). Scoop off the fat and bring the soup back to a boil. Simmer until you’re ready to serve.
You can eat it plain, with matzah balls, or with the chicken and vegetables from the pot.
I’ll be sharing a number of different matzah ball recipes and techniques in a separate post. Stay tuned!
Tip: For a very clear broth, pour it through a cheesecloth.
- 2 chicken bottoms (drumstick and thigh)
- 2 carrots
- 2 onions
- 3 celery stalks
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 zucchini
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt, or to taste
- 12 cups water
- Peel the carrots, sweet potato and onions. Leave the peel on the zucchini.
- Cut the vegetables into chunks, not too small.
- Put all ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn it down to a very low simmer, and cook for 4 hours.
- Refrigerate the soup overnight. The fat will rise to the top and harden, so you can easily remove it.
- After you remove the fat, reheat and serve the soup.
Tip for a clear broth: Strain the soup through a cheesecloth.
Serves 8-10 (the longer it simmers, the more it will reduce)
Do you have any unusual chicken soup ingredients or tips? Share them in the comment section below.
My husband tells me that as the oldest brother he was usually the last one home and all that was left of his mother's soup was liquid and the some "grease" on top! I can attest that her soup was delicious - carrots, celery, onions, chicken and I don't remember if she used parsley.I use a classic "Poilisher" recipe as taught by my grandmother which I sometimes vary with own twists. No matter what I do, seldom is my soup not delicious. The secret is to both smell and taste any soup and adjust to your liking.
ST Kilda East
Parsley yes. The soup needs parsley half a bunch of parsley and an entire bunch of celery along with a pound of carrots and a chicken (or a turkey) in a big pot. Holds gallons. Simmer it all day and put it in the fridge and skim it.
And be sure to include some beef bones. Not marrow bones. Just some sliced up beef bones--knuckle bones or whatever--for the calcium and flavor. The bones give it flavor and the bones cure whatever ails you. I have never frozen a soup. We manage to get it all eaten by the end of the week. Everyone always wants seconds and thirds.
How many people do you feed with one chicken? My soup pot holds four gallons and I have enough left over to eat it throughout Pesach. I also make it for Rosh HaShanah, and my 20-plus guests ask for seconds and thirds, so I need more than one chicken, and I do need about two to four beef bones that give it strength without clouding up the clear bouillion. And, yes, skim it, and refrigerate overnight and skim it again, and heat it and skim it again.
Nothing like a good strong soup. That's why chicken soup cures whatever ails you. Not just any chicken soup; only the real thing.
I admit that I do not make chicken soup for Shabbos dinner. Only for Yomtov, and only for about 20 people, and even then enough left to last me for a week. I am not sure the pot holds four gallons. I never measured it; it may be eight gallons. It's my mother's pot, and her "recipe"--and, before that, HER mother's and before that I do not know.