I know what you’re thinking.
‘Haven’t I heard you talk about observing the season of Lent? Now you’re making chicken soup? What does a goyim know about cooking Jewish penicillin?’
Well, don’t worry. I’m only half goyim. The nice Jewish girl half of me will be doing the cooking today. The shikse is taking a nap.
There are as many recipes for chicken soup out there as there are Bubbyes who make them. But no matter what recipe you use, nothing beats a bowl of nice, hot chicken soup, whether you’re sick or not.
Chicken Soup with Noodles or Matzo Balls
- 1 whole 4-5 lb chicken
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into large chunks, or handful of baby carrots
- 6 peppercorns
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 rounded tsp chicken bouillon
- noodles or matzo balls (see recipe for details)
- salt and pepper to taste
- large handful chopped, fresh dill
- Put chicken in a large stockpot and just cover with water. Add next 4 ingredients. I also like to sprinkle a bit of thyme and sage in there (or poultry seasoning), but that’s optional. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, occasionally skimming the fat off the top.
- Make the matzo balls, if using (see below).
- Strain the broth. Set the chicken aside to cool.
- Bring broth to a boil and add chopped onions, carrots, celery, and seasonings (bay leaf through bouillon). Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- Add noodles, if using. My husband likes a lot of noodles, so I add about 2-3 cups of wide egg noodles. Cook for about 15 minutes, until noodles are done.
- Remove from heat. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick off the meat and add to the soup. I usually add about 2 cups of the chicken and then put the rest in the freezer to use for another soup recipe later.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and fresh dill. I do 1/2 tsp of pepper and 1 tsp kosher salt.
Personally, I prefer matzo balls. The noodles just don’t stay on my spoon, and then they’re sloppy. I usually just make a big pot of chicken soup and freeze it in batches. Then on the day I’m serving it I’ll add either noodles or matzo balls, depending on my mood, or which sick person I’m making it for, and their preference.
This is my mom’s (Bubbye’s) matzo ball recipe:
Bubbye’s Matzo Balls
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 cup matzo meal
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- Beat egg whites until stiff.
- Beat yolks, then fold into egg whites. Fold in matzo meal 1 spoonful at a time. Add salt, pepper, and melted butter. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Bring large pot of water to a boil. Form matzo mixture into balls (remember that they will grow as they cook). Drop into boiling water. Reduce heat and cover. Cook for 30 minutes.
We were having matzo ball soup the day I asked The Critics what they thought. Here’s what they said:
Batman: Mommy, I LOVE this soup!
Sarah Crewe: It’s good!
Curious George: Matzo ball soup is my favorite! He then ate only the matzo balls, and cried when I said he had to eat the veggies, too. He said: If I have to eat the carrots, then I don’t like it.
Elmo ate at least 3 bowls
Don Corleone: This is really good!
And finally, I leave you with the old blind man/soup scene in Young Frankenstein. Two of my Critics watched this clip with me. I was cracking up, while they kept saying, “Why is it so funny? I don’t understand…”
My 6-year-old always says, “Grownups think weird things are funny.”
Yeah, right back atcha, kiddo!