If you're fighting a winter cold or the flu, there's nothing like a hot bowl of chicken soup to jump-start the healing process. It's comforting, tastes great and is easy on the stomach.
Here are three different recipes for chicken soup that will warm you up in no time. There's a recipe for wheat harvester's soup with shredded chicken and chicken livers, a recipe for chicken soup with matzo balls and a recipe for chicken soup with dill and cumin.
HARVESTER'S CHICKEN SOUP
Total time: 3 to 3 1/2 hours | Serves 6
- 1 (4 1/2 -pound) chicken, rinsed and cut in half, excess fat removed
- 1 large carrot, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 2 stalks of celery, cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 large onion, peeled, quartered
- 8 peppercorns
- 3 sprigs of parsley
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 pound fresh chicken livers, trimmed and cut in 1/2 -inch dice
- 1 sprig sweet basil
- 1 plum tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped fine
- 1/3 pound fresh tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta or egg noodles broken into 2-inch pieces
- Parsley leaves
Make chicken stock. Place the chicken, carrot, celery, onion, peppercorns, parsley, thyme and bay leaf into a large pot. Add 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a low simmer (the water should be barely bubbling). Simmer uncovered for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, occasionally skimming off the fat and impurities that rise to the surface.
Carefully remove the chicken to a bowl. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the solids.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and the bones and discard. Shred the dark meat and set aside. Reserve the white meat for another use.
In a small skillet, heat the olive oil and quickly saute the chicken livers until pink inside, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Place the strained stock in a large saucepan. Bring it to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Add the basil sprig, chopped tomato and fresh tagliatelle. Cook until the pasta is done, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the livers and shredded chicken.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in warmed, shallow soup bowls. Garnish with parsley leaves.
CHICKEN SOUP WITH MATZO BALLS
Total time: 3 1/2 hours | Serves 6 to 8
- 2 pounds chicken pieces, preferably legs and thighs
- 2 carrots (1/2 carrot cut in 2 chunks, the rest quartered lengthwise and sliced about 1/4-inch thick), divided
- 1/2 pound asparagus (about 8 spears), bases reserved and spears cut into thirds, divided
- 1 large onion, cut into 8 pieces
- 2 celery ribs with leafy tops, cut into thirds
- 4 dill stems (leaves reserved)
- 4 cilantro stems (leafy tops reserved)
- 11 cups water
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 white squash (Mexican squash) or 1 to 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced about 3/8-inch thick (1 2/3 cups)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped dill leaves and fine stems
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves and fine stems
- Herb-flecked kneidelach (See related recipe)
- Zehug, a chile-garlic relish (See related recipe)
In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the chicken, carrot chunks, the asparagus bases, the onion, celery, dill stems, cilantro stems and water.
Bring to a boil, skimming the foam a few times. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Skim thoroughly.
Add the cumin, turmeric, a pinch of salt and one-half teaspoon ground pepper. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is very tender and the soup is well flavored, about 2 hours, skimming occasionally.
Discard the pieces of vegetables and herbs. Remove the chicken pieces and cool slightly, then discard the skin and bones. Cut the meat in strips and return them to the soup. Skim the fat from the broth.
In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of the broth to a simmer. Add the carrot slices and return to a simmer, then cover and cook over medium-low heat for 3 minutes. Add the asparagus spear pieces and the squash pieces to the soup and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 1 minute. Add the asparagus tips and continue to cook until the vegetables are done to your preference, about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon. Return the vegetables' cooking broth to the rest of the soup.
Before serving, bring the soup to a simmer. Add the cooked vegetables and heat through. Add the chopped dill and cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired. This makes a scant 2 1/2 quarts of soup.
To serve, put 2 or 3 matzo balls in each soup bowl using a slotted spoon, and ladle hot soup over them. Add some vegetables and a few chicken strips to each bowl. Serve with the zehug in a small bowl.
Matzo ball ingredients:
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil such as grape seed or safflower oil
- 2/3 cup matzo meal (sometimes labeled matsah meal) (about 2 1/2 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, more as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 cups plus 5 tablespoons strained chicken soup (or prepared chicken or vegetable broth or water), divided, more if needed
- 1 tablespoon minced dill leaves and fine stems
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro leaves and fine stems
- 2 quarts water (or 1 quart water and 1 quart chicken broth)