Serves a Crowd

Grandma Evie's Jewish Penicillin

April 22, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Serves 8 - 12
Author Notes

My mother, Evelyn, "Grandma Evie" or "Grandma E" to her grandchildren, used to say that though she based her chicken soup on her mother's recipe, she made it better. She once told me that a little old Jewish lady she met in a butcher shop told her to put a sweet potato into the soup and she did that ever since. My older sister used to make this soup and my brother's wife makes a version as well. My mother was a great cook, but other than very '70's foods like green bean casserole and jello mold, really excelled at the Jewish cooking she grew up with. I don't make too many of her specialties any more because they can be very heavy, but this one I hope my children will carry on. —healthierkitchen

What You'll Need
  • 5 pounds cut up chicken parts (I like to use Kosher for this as it's been salted and soaked)
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and left whole
  • 1 large onion, peeled and left whole
  • 4 - 6 carrots, peeled and cut in two or three approximately equal lengths
  • 4 stalks celery, trimmed, cleaned and halved as with carrots
  • 1 large (or 2 small) parsnip, peeled
  • 1 "Jewish bouquet garni" - a large handful of parsley, stems and all, a large handful of dill, and 10 - 12 black peppercorns wrapped in muslin and tied with kitchen string.
  • salt to taste
  1. Place chicken pieces into a large stock pot, leaving out any giblets, livers, etc. Cover with water by a couple of inches, probably about 7 quarts.
  2. Set pot on burner on high and bring to a rolling boil. Lower burner to a slow boil. After the water has been boiling for about 5 - 10 minutes, skim off the foam and grey-brown globs that rise to the top. Keep chicken and water at this slow boil for about 30 minutes, skimming occasionally as needed, until water is mostly clear.
  3. Add the other ingredients into the pot. Bring back to a boil and then lower to maintain the contents of the pot at a simmer. Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar. Simmer for about an hour.
  4. After an hour, taste soup and add salt and pepper. If you have the time, let it simmer another hour.
  5. Remove the chicken pieces to a bowl and reserve for another use - Amanda's chicken salad, maybe?
  6. Remove the parsnip and sweet potato and eat. This is the cook's prerogative. Break up the onion into smaller pieces and leave in the soup. Remove the Jewish b.g. (herbs).
  7. For Jewish holidays, the soup is ready to serve like this with noodles or matzo balls. If you would like a fancier presentation, strain the soup of all the cooked out vegetables and put just the broth back into the pot (and don't do what I did once and just pour it through the strainer right down the sink - oy!) Once strained, you can add fresh carrots and celery to the broth and cook them for another 20 minutes or so before serving, or use as stock.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • scott.finkelstein.5
  • healthierkitchen
  • dymnyno
  • drbabs
  • aargersi

9 Reviews

Squ1rrelG1rL November 14, 2020
I found this recipe last year. I have have made it multiple times. This is one of my favorite recipes.
Thank you so much for sharing. It is fabulous
scott.finkelstein.5 December 10, 2013
My mom and aunt did the pouring mistake with gravy years ago and still occasionally bicker over whose fault it was.
healthierkitchen December 10, 2013
This was all me! I haven't made that mistake again!
healthierkitchen April 22, 2010
It's such a shame to waste so much good soup!
dymnyno April 22, 2010
I have done the strain the liquid down the drain trick too....what a frustrating cooking misstep!
drbabs April 22, 2010
I love this, too. (especially the Jewish Bouqet garni, and your story about dumping the soup--that sounds like something I would do!)
healthierkitchen July 19, 2010
Thanks for your nice comments! I don't know how I didn't see this until now...
healthierkitchen April 22, 2010
Thanks aargersi. I love your recipes!
aargersi April 22, 2010
Love it! Never thought to add sweet potatoes but it is defintely a "must try" now, plus I love the cook's prerogative