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.
It goes without saying that you must skim the fat off the top, either before or after you refrigerate it. And use a very large pot, enough to hold at least two gallons of water. I am assuming you have ten or 20 very hungry guests who will want seconds or even thirds.
You will notice, when you refrigerate it, that it gels. That's because of the minerals and collagen in the bones. This is the kind of soup that cures colds, or anything else that ails you.
Cut veggies into bite-sized slices & you can skip rice & noodles (we don't need the starch). Cut them diagonally, for beauty and mouth feel.
The proper veggies:
A pound of carrots, a bunch of celery (well cleaned), several yellow onions (either chopped fine--and possibly sauteed in coconut oil--or merely peeled and cut in half), & a bunch of parsley, properly rinsed in salt water to get rid of microscopic bugs, then rinsed in clear water & added either whole (and easily removed) or chopped fine & added with the chopper onion. Put into a large pot and cover with distilled water or other water that you trust plus the juice of one lemon.
This makes a strong soup that feeds 25 even if they want seconds. It doesn't need any herbs or spices.
This is for a 6-8 qt pot. Follow same for larger pot and more chicken(s) increasing vegetables accordingly.
Cook matzo balls separately and added before serving or drop directly into boiling soup to cook(lower fire when done). Cook noodles, drain and serve in bowl with the soup.
For Pesach and Succos I use the water from boiling a big pot of sweet potatoes.