Several Jewish Mother'S Chicken Soups, Simplified - Ellen's Tastes Blog at - 215531

Ellen's Tastes

Several Jewish Mother's Chicken Soups, Simplified 
Jan. 6, 2011 7:01 am 
Updated: Mar. 4, 2011 6:20 am
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
  • serve
  • eat
  • 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.

Here 'tis:

  • 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):<

Jan. 6, 2011 8:27 pm
I'm pretty sure we must be related. My mother's side of my family is all Jewish. She was one of 7 sisters. Each of my aunts all had their own way of doing business and rest assured they had their own chicken soup recipes also. I remember my cousins bar mitzvah was like a Jewish version of throwdown. These are some of my fondest memories and really, these women were my inspiration to create and I give them full credit for me having my passion for cooking. My brother must have been inspired as well because he's an executive chef in Switzerland. Great blog.
Jan. 7, 2011 8:45 pm
I love your blog! My Jewish buba used to make the 2 day kind of chicken soup too, and you have reminded me of such fond memories at her house, helping her skim off the fat, and the heavenly scent that filled the house. I have always wanted to make it for my husband, who has no concept of Jewish food (poor thing!) other than the 2 or 3 recipes I've managed to save from my childhood, but have always been intimidated because of the time involved. I can't wait to try your recipe! Thank you for sharing it.
Mar. 4, 2011 6:20 am
Hello, I'm making your chicken soup. My daughter and husband will love it. We are not Jewish, none the less, I like Jewish food. I won't do it unless you give me permission. I belong to a group called Cooking in the Dark. It is a cooking group for blind people. We have a number of chefs and I know our members would love your Chicken Soup both the long and short version. I would like to send this to the list but I will not take it out of your blog post without your permission. Thanks. email
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About Me
I've loved cooking since I was a kid, and still have my first (very battered) cookbook. Other than cooking, I adore interior design, writing, and playing bridge. Oh... and tasting new wines (or old favorites).
My favorite things to cook
As I've grown older, my tastes and philosophy have changed. I now use organic ingredients whenever I can, and I prefer using unprocessed ingredients.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Well, my mother (bless her) had 8 people to feed, so she made foods that were easy to prepare. My favorites were her baked ribs with barbecue sauce; english muffins topped with cheese, tomato, and bacon, and then broiled; and spaghetti noodles with tomato soup and cheddar cheese stirred in. I wouldn't make these dishes today, but they're full of fond memories.
My cooking triumphs
Adding orange juice to diced tomato sauce • Adding Cointreau to fresh fruit salads or a chocolate sauce • Adding tequila and bittersweet chocolate to chili • "poaching" salmon in orange juice, sprinkled with Old Bay and tarragon • adding cidar vinegar and soy sauce to vegetable soups • adding fresh mint to steamed red potatoes • knowing how to bail out a botched dish (example: over-steamed broccoli mashed with bleu or swiss cheese isn't nearly as bad as over-steamed broccoli on it's own).
My cooking tragedies
Over-steaming broccoli and most any other veggie... and a lasagna that was so loaded with oregano, no one could eat it.
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