My husband (a lovely man) comes from a Jewish family. While his parents may have gone to Synagogue, from what I've gathered, the primary religious activities and culture of his life revolved around food. He has clear and vivid memories of both his grandmothers'
chicken soups, his mother's chicken soup, and the chicken soups from the kitchens of his many aunts.
So, when I wandered into his life (a "shiksa" who loves to cook), I was given many (shhhhhhh) tips for "the best chicken soup" since each of the women in sweet hubby's family were absolutely positive that their recipe was better than their sisters', or
their mothers', and definitely their mothers-in-law's.
Here's the combination of their recipes for making chicken soup the "right way":
- boil the chicken in water with onion, celery, carrots, sage, dill, and a bouillon cube
- remove the chicken when when the legs are ready to fall off
- remove the cooked veggies and throw them away
- let the bird cool down before stripping the meat from the skin and bones
- place the meat in the 'fridge
- bake the carcass in the oven until it turns brown and then add it to the broth and boil
- put the broth in the refrigerator overnight to let the fat rise and gel
- scrape the fat away the next day and remove the bones
- add a new batch of onion, celery, and carrots to the broth and cook until they're done
- in another pot, cook up a bunch of egg noodles
- add the chicken to the soup and let cook until it's heated
- place the chicken soup in a bowl and add the noodles
- eat more!
When I was a young wife, eager to please, I did this many times and admit it was tasty. But as I've gotten older, and have less patience for perfection, I decided to cut to the chase and make the soup in such a way that it could be eaten within hours.
What I came up with was as surprising to me as it was my husband: it's as good as the one I labored over for so long.
- Put an organic chicken in a pot. Cover with water and boil until the legs are loose.
- Remove chicken from it's broth and set aside to cool.
- Slice 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, and 1 medium onion and add to the broth along with 2 cubes of chicken bouillon (I use Better Than Bouillon).
- Add about 1 tsp. sage, 1 tsp. oregano, and 1 tsp. pepper. (Add dill if you happen to like it.)
- Simmer until the veggies are done.
- When the chicken is cool, remove the meat from the skin and bones. (Toss the carcass or use it to make your own broth for a later time.)
- Add the chicken and about 6 oz. of uncooked large (thick) bow tie noodles, and cook until the noodles are done. Serve.
All in all, it takes about 2-1/2 hours from start to finish. After the soup sits for a while, the noodles soak up a lot of broth (while still holding their shape!) which makes it more like a chicken stew, so I have Swanson's Organic Chicken Broth on hand
to convert it back into soup. If I were a better person, I'd use the carcass to make my own broth for this purpose, but I'm simplifying which, in this case, means less pots to clean.
My mother-in-law and her sisters, rest their souls, would no doubt roll over in their graves if they knew what I'd done to their recipes... but if their son/nephew can't tell the difference, I'm betting neither could they.
I made this yesterday and hubby and I have been eating it for lunch and dinner ever since. Quite tasty, and the perfect meal for a chilly day.
By the way, the simplified recipe is in my list of recipes, here (I hope): http://allrecipes.com/PersonalRecipe/62485690/Jewish-Mother-Chicken-Soup/Detail.aspx<