Old World Chicken Soup With New Age Flair.

>> Dec 31, 2009

As the fall drew near and winter was upon us the biggest topic of discussion was “the Flu shot.” I never paid much attention, as I am very scared of shots, so the idea of voluntarily getting one did not appeal to me. Instead, I make it my business to take extra vitamin C, buy Purell like I am preparing for the next great plague, and eat a tremendous amount of chicken soup.
My Mother is of the opinion that Chicken soup can cure everything from the common cold to very rare diseases. Don’t argue with her on that last point because while she is not a certified doctor- she just knows! Lately, everywhere I turn somebody is coughing, sneezing, sniffling, blowing their nose….and then they want to shake my hand. All of these germs had me reconsidering the flu shot, but I’m not taking any chances, so it’s chicken soup everyday until June! B’Teavon!

Yona’s Chicken Soup

4 Skinless Chicken Thighs

5 Carrots

6 Celery ribs

2 Onions

4 Leeks

2 Bunches of Chives

1 Bunch of Dill

1 Bunch of Parsley

1/4Cup Brown Sugar

1/3 Cup Chicken Consommé Powder

1 Tsp Black Pepper

1 Tbsp Onion Powder

1 Tbsp Garlic Powder

1 Tbsp Minced Garlic

16 Cups Water

Olive Oil

You will need a big pot! I use a lobster pot which may seem odd for a kosher chicken soup, but believe me it’s worth the investment and you could feed a small army with this pot of soup. Prep all the vegetables. Cut the onion into large chunks, cut the leek into thick circles, and chop the chives into one inch long pieces. I like to cut the carrots and celery into big chunks. I think it makes the soup hearty and the vegetables do not break down and get mushy- but you decide how you like it. Coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil. Heat the olive oil and add the minced garlic. Sautee the garlic- do not brown it, just begin to extract the natural juices within the garlic. Add the onions, leeks, chives, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chicken soup consommé powder and brown sugar, 1 cup of water and sauté for five minutes. Once you begin to see a thick sauce on the bottom of the pan add the chunks of carrot, celery the chicken and remaining 15 cups of water. Bring the soup to a boil and then add the bunch of dill and parsley.  Lower the heat and simmer. I have been known to let this soup simmer for four hours on low. If you don’t have that type of time you can boil the soup for an hour. I find that the longer you let the soup simmer the more intense the flavor of the soup becomes.

A Few Helpful Tips On Making Chicken Soup

1. Add Matzo balls to your chicken soup! They are delicious and really enhance the soup. If you are going to make matzo balls-it's not worth the Patchke (Yiddish for "fuss") making them from scratch. Buy the mix from the store and just follow the directions on the package. DO boil the Matzo balls in the chicken soup and NOT in a separate pot of water. Cooking the matzo balls in the soup enhances the flavor of the matzo balls-trust me- just do it! Note- the soup will become a bit cloudy due to the starchiness of the matzo balls, but it will only add to the flavor of the soup!

2. Once the chicken soup is fully cooked, take the chicken thighs out of the pot; allow the chicken to cool off and remove the meat from the bone. Put the chunks of chicken back into the soup and discard the bones. The longer the chicken soup boils, the more the bones begin to break a part, next thing you know you have a soup full of small bones, especially if you will be reheating the soup.

3. Before you put chicken soup or any soup that contains meat away; the chicken/meat in the soup must be completely cooled or you need to remove the chicken/meat from the soup. The meat retains the heat longer than the liquid and vegetables which causes bacteria to form and the soup to spoil. Tip if you are going to put the warm liquid in the refrigerator make sure that the pot is uncovered until the soup is cold. You can either separate the soup into smaller shallower containers or submerge the pot in ice for faster cooling before you put it in the fridge.

4. Chicken soup freezes very well. During the cold winter months I always like to have soup on hand but don’t always want to make one from scratch. My suggestion- make a big pot and divide it into Heavy Duty Freezer Ziploc bags and freeze after it cools. Place the bags of soup on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, you can remove the bags of soup.

5. I love chicken salad! If you really want to enhance the flavor of a chicken salad use chicken that has been cooked in a chicken soup. If you know there is a chicken salad on your culinary horizon, add extra chicken to the chicken soup. Remove it from the soup once it is cooked, let it cool down, take it off the bone, put it in a Ziploc bag and freeze it. Hint Hint, you may want to do this because I have a dynamite chicken salad recipe coming your way!

Did you know?

Chicken soup has a long history in Jewish culture. Ashkenazi Jews living in shtetls were often very poor and their menus were very simple. However, Jewish families would try to acquire at least one chicken for Shabbat and try to make the most of it. The chicken was roasted, the livers were made into chopped liver, gribenes was crackling made from fat and skin, pupik which was roasted gizzards, chicken fat was rendered into schmaltz and used for cooking, p'tcha (chicken feet- enough said), and the remaining carcass was used to prepare the soup.

The 12th-century rabbi and physician Maimonides touted the benefits of chicken soup to one's health. Recently scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha have studied the medicinal activity in chicken soup in vitro. They found that some components of the chicken soup inhibit neutrophil migration, which may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could hypothetically lead to temporary ease from symptoms of illness. Eat up!


Anonymous,  January 01, 2010  

Mazal tov dear Yona on a job well done. You have really put a tremendous amount of energy and thought into this lovely and delicious new endeavor. May you be successful,healthy and happy as you spread the word on gorgeous kosher food and amazing table settings. It is a yummy reflection on your life views and people who know you can see your neshama in this. BeTay'avon v'hatzlacha, love, Ema & Abba

Sandy January 02, 2010  

Great blog, Yona! I love the personal notes on how food impacts your life. I am a foodie and look forward to more. I have never put sugar in my soup. Definitely something to think about. And I like the tip on using the chicken for chicken salad and taking the chicken off the bones.

Katie W.,  January 04, 2010  

Wonderful post -- I will definitely try your soup recipe! I look forward to seeing what more there is to come (especially the chicken salad recipe!).

I must respectfully disagree with your comment though on not Patchke-ing to make Matzo balls from scratch. It takes a little more time (although not much) but I think the flavor and texture are worth it... I will give you my family recipe if you want to try it out and let me know what you think!

SaraK January 06, 2010  

I like putting sweet potatoes in my chicken soup, and I also cook it overnight. Great blog!

Sarah January 07, 2010  

LOVE the blog Yona!!!

One question -- i thought you were supposed to boil the chicken and skim the gross stuff off before adding vegetables... Can you explain? (Like, what do I do with all the gross stuff?)

Sarah January 07, 2010  

HI Yona -- I LOVE the blog!! I posted once, but it didn't show up. One question on this recipe --- I thought you had to boil chicken first and take off the gross stuff and then put in vegetables. Can you please explain? Thanks!

Bekisha,  January 11, 2010  

What an incredible piece of artwork !!! Like mother like daughter! So excited to keep checking this blog for more beautiful ideas!!!

Anonymous,  January 11, 2010  

I am extremely impressed with both of your recipes, your anecdotes and your presentation. Your ability to capture food is delectable and your images are exquisite.
You inspire me!
Haztlocha in all you do, we love you!!!
The Septimi Gang

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