So… I was told, being a previous “goy” or “persian shiksa”, that to make a great chicken soup was like meeting your maker. This was the ultimate ritual in gaining acceptance and respect within my husbands Jewish family (he lied to be fair as his family loves me and it was really just him doing yet another little “test” to see if I was worthy of his hand in marriage because he’s a meshugener (yes… arsehole).
So… in my attempt to become the ultimate Baleboosteh (“Mistress of the house. A compliment to someone who is a terrific housekeeper. “She is some baleboosteh!”)…. I decided to do some kick arse home cooking once again. Plus I love to fucking show off so it didn’t really bother me. Oy Vey!
Anyhow back to the story…when I finally converted to Judaism (you know…. because I wanted the wedding ring, and kinda fancied our 66-year-old Rabbi who looks remarkably like the dark-haired guy with big lips from Flight of the Concords), that Jewish Chicken soup recipe was hanging over my shoulders like a bitch on heat.
I mean this soup, compared to normal chicken soup or carrot & coriander, is like “penicillin with magical wonders and matzo balls that add some form of wisdom”.
So…. on my quest to make the ULTIMATE soup that made his whole family scream “Oy Vey this bitch is now part of our people”, that not only kicked my Mother-in-laws-ass (I like her BTW….gulp) the soup of all soups to show every other chicken soup… I decided to attempt to find out what was the cause of so much friday night “mishegas” (google the word because I’m still new to yiddish, 8 years later).
Heres what I discovered (aside from the fact that Im a fucking brilliant cook when I’m in the mood)
Skill level : If you can read a recipe & have a pulse, you can make this soup. BUT, you must pay attention to the seasoning AND the Matzo balls. Also, keep an eye on your kitchen door as I noticed Matzo balls disappearing as I cooked them which made me concerned that maybe I had consumed more alcohol than usual. Turns out, The Captains a fat bastard and likes these more than strippers on a friday night.
So…here we go BUT before you read on, I MUST advise you. Just because i SAY this is the best chicken soup in the whole wide world does not mean I am open for any court judgements or libel claims in relation to my statements. I am just stating this MAY be the best chicken soup in the world. Get over it and now go cook the damn thing for your family. If your husbands an arsehole, I suggest adding extra arsenic or some Xanax just to keep things mellow on a Friday night Shabbat dinner. JOKE.
HOW TO COOK THE BEST CHICKEN SOUP:
Ingredients for chicken soup:
- 8 chicken legs /thighs/shoulders OR 3 whole chickens if you are making 3 big tubs of soup to freeze
- bunch of fresh parsley
- bunch of fresh dill (or dry)
- bunch of celery chopped into cubes
- 2 bags of carrots (approx lbs chopped)
- 7-10 parsnips washed and chopped into cubes
- 1x huge turnip
- 4x large cartons of organic chicken broth
- 5-6 chicken cubes stock idea;;y organic
- lots of water (approx one ltr)
Directions on How to cook Chicken soup:
- Put the washed chicken legs, thighs body etc into 2 or 3 big pots, depending on how much you want to make. My ingredients are enough to feed 12 people happily on a raucous friday night dinner.
- Cover the chicken with water and salt, 3/4 full in the pot. You need to leave space to add vegetables.
- Bring the cooking chicken to the boil over a high heat and keep skimming off the foam (fat) into a separate bowl.
- Add pepper, parsley, dill and celery to the cooking pots.
- Cut all the carrots, onions, parsnips and turnip into chunks and put into the soup.
- Boil all the ingredients for over 3 hours ideally. Add extra water if needed and keep skimming fat off the top of the soup.
- Add 5-6 chicken Oxo cubes and 4 containers of organic free range chicken broth to all the pots.
- After cooking, turn off the heat and sieve all the soup through a colander into a big bowl leaving behind all the yummy vegetables and chicken. Now these leftovers can be put back into the soup although bear in mind most of their goodness is already in the water of the soup. I sometimes make a chicken and vegetable pie from the leftovers which the kids love.
- After sieving all the soup into a big bowl, the stock goes back into the soup pot with a handful of added lockshen (very thin noodles)
- Bring the soup back to a boil and add some of the deboned chicken and vegetables for an additional 30 minutes.
- Check seasoning and add more Salt & pepper if needed.
- Add the matzo balls (cooked in the fat & soup mixture) which will only take approx 10 minutes to cook.
The soup is ready top go. Shalom and enjoy!
* A word to the wise… When you have small children, keep the soup traditional and as empty of the chunky veg as you can (unless your kids genuinely like lumps of carrot & onion, then knock yourself out).
Photo below is a mix of Skimmed chicken fat & clear soup to cook the matzo balls in.
Photo below of Soup with the frothy fat that needs to be skimmed off.
Left over Vegetables below to either return all to the soup, OR, add half to the soup OR all to a vegetable pie instead. Up to you.
Clear chicken soup below without any vegetables or matzo balls. My kids love it pure like this and my 11 month old has this with her rice. Its full of vegetable and chicken broth.
Is that a heart-shaped Matzo ball i see below me!? Well yes it is…. because I’m fucking fabulous… plus it was the only way I could get my 3-year-old to eat one!
The infamous home cookbook below….. if I lost this… The Captain would be screwed as it holds all my new Jew Crew recipes.
The end result….. 3 large pots of chicken soup ready to freeze for any colds/coughs/hangovers/”I need soup” days etc….. just call me Aunt Ethel
Ingredients for Matzo Balls:
1. 4-6 tbsps melted chicken fat skimmed from the soup
2. 4x large eggs
3. 1 cup of matzo meal (add 1/4 more for matzo balls and a 1/4 less for airy.
4. 1 tbsp salt.
5. 4-5 tbsp of soup stock
To cook 10-12 the Matzo balls:
- Beat eggs slightly with a whisk then add chicken fat to the mix and keep stirring.
- Add the Matzo meal & salt. Mix Well.
- Add soup stock and mix.
- Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes or more preferably.
- Matzo balls rolled with wet hands and placed on cooking paper, covered with cling film to cool for at least 30 minutes to one hour.
- Approx one hour before the soup is served, make little matzo balls by scooping a teaspoons worth into your wet palms and rolling them into a ball. If your hands are wet tho swill make it easier to roll and less sticky.
- You can then refrigerate them or put them straight into a pot of boiling chicken fat and soup combo to cook for approx 10 minutes.
Photo below of Matzo Balls cooking in at least 1 & 1/2 pints of chicken soup & fat. Add more liquid if necessary.
** NB. You can also make these balls and then put them in the freezer with a batch of chicken soup. I tend to line a strong Tupperware box and layer out approx 10 matzo balls on each level. They are easy to cook from frozen.
ps. The photo at the top of Mickey & Minnie fornicating was thrown in for the hell of it…..