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.
Also, if you want a really clear beautiful soup, the most important step is the
shamming (skimming). I never need to pour my soup through a cheesecloth !
But I spend a long time shamming, as I know that's the most important step.
As for "rich and healthy", everyone's taste is unique, but we like a less rich, thinner soup. (Less fat=more health here) My soup is never watery, always full of flavor, but never so dark as this picture. There is nothing quite like that steaming Friday night bowl, is there? B"H !
Check out food safety storage for soup on the web.
She left the vegetables whole so that they could contribute their flavor while leaving the broth clear.
My mother generously used the following veggies: onions, celery, carrots, parsley. [Avoid potatoes. They cloud the broth.]
I have slightly bent the rules above.
I add the juice of one lemon, or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to pull the strength out of the bones. I cut the veggles into large bite-sized pieces so people can enjoy the flavor and texture of the vegetables. I omit the rice.
You are right to refrigerate the soup and skim the fat and then reheat the soup without the fat. Simmer as long as possible, both the first time and the second time.
I get requests for seconds and thirds