Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Growing up with a Catholic grandmother who embraced the Jewish culture was quite an experience. The woman was phenomenal at dishing out guilt trips. I was either to fat or too thin. I never ate enough but was eating way too much. If you were sick, she fed you. But she fed us with the Jewish penicillin, Matzo Ball Soup. For a Catholic lady, she sure could whip up a mean matzo. She died too young, I think, and before I was old enough to get her recipe. But the little bit of Jewish in me, 1/4 to be exact, likes to feed my family with this particular Jewish cure for all that ails you. Every Jewish family has a chicken soup recipe, which they claim to be the best. Frankly what makes it the best is the time and love they put into it.

When my Cookie came down with the flu, I chucked the idea of having a nice steak for dinner and began to thaw the whole chicken I had in the freezer for just such an occasion. (I like to buy a whole baking chicken when they are on sale and keep it in the freezer to either make a stock, or a soup with, my favorite is Tortilla Soup..but plain chicken soup is great). While Cookie of course refused to eat the soup (tummy hurt too much), Hubby, Jelly, and I enjoyed it along with some homemade egg noddles and homemade baguettes. Below is my easy peasy Chicken Soup/Chicken stock recipe. The one below is if you want to eat the soup the same day, but the best soup is made over two days allowing time to cool the stock and remove the fat, then chopping more carrots, celery, and onion to add to the stock and cooking until they are soft. Which you can do if you want an even more delicious and rich stock.

Chicken Soup (best started first thing in the morning)

1 Whole Baking Chicken
3 Stalks of Celery Chopped
1 Onion Chopped
4 Carrots Peeled and Chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 Bay leaves
8 cups of Water
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)

1. Saute Onions, Celery, and Carrots in a large Stock pot in the butter.
2. Add the whole chicken(thawed, gizzards removed), water, and bay leaves. Salt and Pepper to taste (I generally add about a tsp of both and then add more at the end to taste). Add more water if needed to cover chicken.
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked
through. (about 2-3 can increase heat, but you will have to add more water
later). Taste the stock and add more salt and pepper to taste.
4. Remove chicken to a plate or bowl to cool.
5. Drain the stock into a bowl or another stock pot using a colander to separate the carrots,
celery, and onions (retain for later use but remove the bay leaves).
6. Place the stock in the freezer (if you've got room) or in the fridge and allow to cool (about 2
7. While stock is cooling remove the meat from the bones of the chicken and chop up. You
decide how chunky and how much meat you want in your soup. I sometimes take some of the
meat and save some to make chicken salad or serve the kids it alone.
8. Once the stock is cool you will notice that the fat will start to solidify on the top of the
liquid. You will need to spoon this off or use a towel to soak up the fat. I usually start by
spooning and then finally place some paper towels on the top to soak up the rest. (if doing
this over two days, skim the fat the first day, and then reboil the stock, then place in fridge
again and skim the next day.)
9. Return the stock to the burner, add the chopped chicken and the onions, carrots, celery you
set aside (note, that if you are doing this over two days you would throw out the first batch of
veggies and then chop the same amount and then you would throw them in with the stock and
cook until they are soft, then add the chicken...making sure you refrigerate the chicken over
night.) Heat over med. until chicken and veggies and stock all warm. Enjoy.

Egg Noodles

3 eggs
2 cups of all purpose flour

1. Beat eggs together in a large bowl
2. Add flour a little bit at a time until incorporated and using a dough hook or by hand knead until shiny smooth and form a ball.
3. Wrap in Saran wrap, set at room temp for at least 15 minutes.
4. Using either a pasta machine or rolling pin, separate the dough into to balls and then roll each one out until really really thin. Let set until hard enough to cut into thin strips for noodles.
5. Either cook in boiling water for about 5 minutes or allow to dry over chairs and then place in Tupperware in fridge. Once dry you will need to boil at least 8 minutes.

I would suggest you cut the noodles thin and in pieces for your soup.


  1. I will have to try this. I've never attempted making the stock or egg I will give it a shot. But not this week! LOL

  2. Stock is easy, I make it all the time for Homemade Tortilla soup...except when I make tortilla soup I may throw in some garlic and basil. But you could just add the basil and it'd be tasty. I was thinking that today when I had to add a bunch of salt and pepper when I re-heated some. BTW, the noodles were a first for me. I had to add an extra egg from the recipe I had (which is reflected in the one I gave).