Chicken Soup That Really Will Warm the Soul


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Mimi Sheraton has been writing about food for more than 50 years. Her book, “1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover’s Life List” is a best-selling must-read for anyone who eats. Her book, “The German Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Mastering Authentic German Cuisine,” is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Few childhood memories are stronger than that of getting home from school on cold, drab, winter Friday afternoons and sniffing the golden sunlit scent of chicken soup aromatic with dill, parsnip, carrots, leeks, and celery root prepared for the weekly shabbot (or sabbath) dinner.

Makes about 2 ½ quarts, or 6 to 8 servings

1 fowl (5 to 6 pounds, whole or quartered, with all cleaned and washed giblets except liver; see below for more detail)
Small veal bone, optional
Kosher coarse salt
2½ to 3 quarts water
1 small or ½ medium-sized parsnip, scraped and split
1 small petrouchka (root of Italian parsley), scraped and split
1 large or 2 small carrots, scraped and split
1 small or ½ large knob celery (celeriac) peeled and cut in chunks
1 medium onion, peeled
1 medium leek, white and green portions, well-washed and split
2 stalks celery with leaves, washed
3 or 4 sprigs Italian parsley
¼ to 1 teaspoon ground white pepper, to taste
Pinch of sugar, if needed
Extra fresh minced parsley and/or dill for garnish.

For best results, chicken should be cooked whole but unless you have pot big enough to accommodate it with water to cover, quarter chicken by disjointing, rather than cutting through the bones.

Place chicken, giblets, and bone if you use it plus 2 teaspoons of salt and a pinch of white pepper in a tall straight-sided enameled or stainless steel pot and add enough water to barely cover the chicken, ideally not more than 2 ½ quarts and never more than 3.

Bring water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered, skimming off scum as it rises to the surface. When soup is clear, cover pot loosely and simmer very slowly but steadily for about 45 minutes.

Add all well-cleaned vegetables including parsley sprigs to the soup and return to a very slow simmer for up to 90 minutes, or until meat begins to fall away from bones.

Remove chicken and vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside. When soup is cool enough to be handled, strain through a fine sieve. Vegetables can be discarded or nibbled on. Rinse soup pot and return soup to it.

Adjust seasonings and if the soup has an acidy edge, add a pinch or two of sugar.

Before serving, bring soup back to simmer until very, very hot which is how it should be served.

Garnish with chopped parsley and/or dill and noodles, rice or matzoh balls. Freshly cooked thin carrot or celery slices also be added, as can spoon size bits of the cooked chicken, minus skin and bones.

The cooked chicken is lagniappe; it’s great for sandwiches or salads.

Note: If soup is made the day before it is to be served let it cool thoroughly, then place in refrigerator loosely covered. Before reheating, skim off any fat coagulated on the surface then simmer soup slowly until hot. Do not keep warm soup covered out of the refrigerator.

More chicken soup ideas from Yahoo Food:

Thomas Keller’s Chicken Soup Recipe

Chicken Soup with Poached Eggs

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe