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Author Notes: Chicken soup Shmicken soup. We have tons of recipes for what we call Jewish Penicillin ... however, the real deal, the original, is not only the best, but it's so easy. My mom made it like her mom, and her mom made it like her mom. My daughter makes it like her mom, too. No one ever wrote down the recipe since we just learned it from our moms. But in case you never had the opportunity, here it is
Whenever I make it, people comment on how wonderfully clean it is. It isn't polluted with unnecessary ingredients. Chicken, carrots and greens. That's it. This is not to be confused with vegetable soup. It's chicken soup.
Although usually served with fine egg noodles. Passover requires it with matza balls and other Jewish holidays require it with kreplach filled with chopped liver (aka Jewish tortellini). Note: if you're not jewish, any time you see a "ch" in a word, remember to pronounce the "ch" like "Bach" (the composer). He wasn't Jewish but it's a great example.
The recipe calls for a whole chicken but nothing goes to waste. The bony pieces of boiled chicken (wings, back, neck) get nibbled on, the pieces of dark meat go back into the soup, and the breast makes a perfect chicken salad.
My mom's name was Lillian Weisner, born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Her mom, Ruchel Nedvorna, (remember the "ch") immigrated from Poland in the early 1900's.
The only ingredient necessary which you can't buy in any store is the love. Remember to add that, too. Jewish mothers had so much love in their food that it was barely edible.
small chicken, whole
carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
bunch parsley, washed and trimmed
bunch dill, washed and trimmed
teaspoon white pepper
- Wash your chicken, inside and out. especially all the brown things from inside the thigh. Trim excess fat and skin from the neck and bottom openings.
- Put your chicken in a big pot and cover totally with fresh water.
- Add salt.
- Bring to a boil over a high heat.
- Skim the soup. Any yucky stuff in the chicken will boil out and rise to the top in a brownish scum. You want to get this out. Holding your ladle straight up, press it gently into the surface of the soup where the most scum is. Tip one edge of the ladle in just a tiny bit. The scum will drizzle into the ladle. Throw that away. Repeat, moving the chicken around a little, until no more scum rises to the surface.
- Once all the scum is removed, add the carrots.
- Add the parsley and dill. Don't cut it. Just wash it and if necessary you can trim the excess stems. This allows you to serve the soup with or without greens, depending upon your guests' preference.
- Add turmeric and white pepper and add more water if necessary.
- Bring to a full boil.
- Taste and add more salt if necessary.
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for at least 30 minutes or longer. The longer you cook it, the richer the flavor (but not too long).
- Remove from heat and cool until you can handle the chicken.
- Wash your hands, reach into the soup and carefully pull out the whole chicken. Put it into a bowl.
- You're probably hungry after all that work, so you deserve to eat the wings now.
- Pull off the skin, add clean pieces of thigh and drumstick meat back into the soup.
- Clean off the breast and put it in the fridge to make chicken salad tomorrow.
- Before dinner, cook up some fine egg noodles and heat the soup.
- Serve by putting some noodles into each bowl. Ladle in the soup with a couple pieces of chicken, carrots and some greens. The soup should be very hot.
- Beautiful, golden, clean and delicious chicken soup like my mom, her mom and her mom and ... used to make.
- Note: I have a dog, so all the trimmings and skimmings goes into a separate pan for him. I'll cook it up and drizzle it over his dry food for a special treat.