Peace family, what makes you feel most loved when you are under the weather?
There are chicken soups, and there are chicken soups. When I need to bring out the big guns (such as this week, because several of my friends have fevers and colds), I make one of my favorite and most trusty standbys: Jewish Penicillin. When you aren’t doing so well, a big bowl of this and a cup of orange juice really hit the spot! It can take a little time to do, but it’s definitely worth it, especially if you are making it for someone you love.
A fresh chicken, quartered, with the skin still on. You can include the gergel (neck) and pippick (gizzard) if you like, and of course, the little fliegels! (wings… I just like saying “fliegels.”) It is important to leave the bones in, because making broth with the bones is where a large portion of the nutrients come from.
For vegetables, take 3-4 sticks of celery and cut in half or thirds, peel 3-4 carrots and cut in half (if you can find the kind with the greens still attached to the top, it is a little crunchy but amazingly delicious), peel one rutabaga (you can leave it whole, but I tend to cut mine so that it will fit in the pot), peel 1-2 parsnips and leave whole, peel one huge onion (again, you can leave it whole, but I tend to cut it, especially if I am having to use multiple smaller onions), and four garlic cloves, peeled (if you don’t cook often, this means one small segment each). Also, I use a whole package of fresh dill (1 oz). Season it to taste with salt and white pepper (a good rule is one teaspoon of salt per cup of water, and I just add a few shakes of pepper; add salt and taste before adding more, because you can always add salt, but you can’t take it out).
Fill the pot(s) 1/2 to 2/3 with water and put in the pieces of chicken (this makes a lot of soup, and you might need two pots, although I suppose you could half the recipe). Bring to a boil and skim off the foam, then put in the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer on low for three or four hours, filling your home with a marvelously delicious aroma while you take care of other business! Once it’s done (the meat will fall off the bones), you can enjoy it as it is, or, if you want to make it really special, add matzoh balls. I’m going to keep my matzoh ball recipe a secret, but at the bottom, you can find a recipe from Manichewitz, which manufactures a lot of Jewish foods. Enjoy! 🙂
The recipe for Manischewitz Matzo Balls serves 8. If you’re interested, find it at: http://www.manischewitz.com/matzoball.html