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Cook It Kosher

Traditional Chicken Soup

Traditional Chicken Soup

Jewish Penicillin


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


  1. Peel the carrots, sweet potato and onions. Leave the peel on the zucchini.
  2. Cut the vegetables into chunks, not too small.
  3. 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.
  4. Refrigerate the soup overnight. The fat will rise to the top and harden, so you can easily remove it.
  5. 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.

Miriam Szokovski is the author of the historical novel Exiled Down Under, and a member of the editorial team. She enjoys tinkering with recipes, and teaches cooking classes to young children. Miriam shares her love of cooking, baking and food photography on’s food blog, Cook It Kosher, and in the N’shei Chabad Newsletter.
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Discussion (57)
June 4, 2015
Can't Get Matzo -Seiren in Spain
Any kind of plain cracker will work, or semolina and other cereals. Even flour can produce a dumpling which can be mixed with eggs and other ingredients to reach the texture you want. This could include mashed potato, some finely chopped or ground nuts, sauteed onion, a stuffing, or chopped herbs. Any additions which make them special and tasty will produce genuine Jewish matzo balls!
Natick, Massachusetts
May 1, 2015
What do you mean by a "thin" soup? A strong soup is NOT a "fat" soup. You must skim the fat off. But you don't want an anemic soup. You want a STRONG soup. That means you need to add chicken feet or lots of chicken necks or just plain beef bones. Any kind of bone adds minerals and strength and flavor to the soup. You do NOT need a marrow bone; in fact, I prefer that the bone NOT have marrow, as the marrow adds fat.
If you skim the soup you should have a clear broth and when it is refrigerated, it gels. Gel is not fat. Gel is like jello, only without the yellow or green color. The gel must be clear, NOT fatty. If you leave the skin on, you add vitamins and minerals and flavor, but you must SKIM off the fat. ADD BONES.

Gefillte fish from scratch also needs bones (fish bones). Then onion slices, then carrot slices, then ground fish mixture, then water; cover & simmer. Makes a broth with a jelly-like subtance often used as a garnish. BONES make strong broth. [Don't put fish bones in meat]
April 15, 2015
I beat one egg with a little water . Pour it into a small skillet and cook it flat like a pancake.When cooked on both sides, let it cool completely.
Cut into strips. Before serving individual soup, top with a few egg strips. Looks attractive over a matzah ball for Seder.
April 9, 2015
chicken skin
Hi Carole - I don't remove the skin, but I do skim the fat.
Miriam Szokovski
April 9, 2015
Do you remove the chicken skin before cooking
I have done both but it is greasy leaving the skin on
Carole Darling
April 1, 2015
I always add a bay leaf and a parsnip and lots of carrots for sweetness. Never tried zucchini or sweet potato-sounds interesting.
January 27, 2015
I can't get matzah where I live, is there anything I can use instead, for my balls?? thanks!!
Zamora, España
December 28, 2014
garlic is best added to the bowl of soup, fresh, not cooked. Cooking garlic just kills all its antibacterial properties. You don't want to cook garlic other than a very quick saute sometimes with vegetables or rice but not boil it in a soup.
December 28, 2014
Chicken Soup
I have found using frozen chicken can produce a more cloudy soup.
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 !
December 28, 2014
May I add that for food safety, reheat only enough soup for eating.. Do not reheat the whole pot and place pot back in the refrigerator with leftover soup.
Check out food safety storage for soup on the web.
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Cook It Kosher features recipes from food blogger Miriam Szokovski, as well as guest bloggers and cookbook authors. Let us know if you’d like to contribute!
Miriam SzokovskiMiriam Szokovski is the author of historical novel Exiled Down Under, and a member of the editorial team. She enjoys tinkering with recipes, and teaches cooking classes to young children. Miriam shares her love of cooking, baking and food photography on’s food blog, Cook It Kosher and in the N'shei Chabad Newsletter.