I have been getting many requests lately for my chicken soup recipe. I couldn't believe how many people never made chicken soup or didn't like the recipe they were using. After hearing that, I couldn't not share this staple recipe.
My mother has made chicken soup for every Friday night Shabbat meal for as long as I can remember. Her soup is amazing, so rich in flavor and never with any added consomme or bouillon cubes - just chicken and vegetables. Over the years I have added some more vegetables but it will always be her chicken soup.
Making chicken soup requires some extra attention in order to obtain a clear broth. In the directions you will read that you first must bring the chicken and water up to a boil. A couple of minutes before it boils, some "shmutz" starts to rise to the top of the water. It looks like grayish/browning fat and sediment with bubbles. Pretty. The goal is to skim that off before the water boils. Sometimes I have skimmed off as much as 1 1/2 cups of liquid doing this technique. If you miss the opportunity to skim off the junk, then once the water boils it will redistribute the shmutz into the soup creating a foggy broth. Not the end of the world - it will taste fine but won't be so pretty.
Susie's Chicken Soup
Yield: 1 8-quart soup pot
Rating: A classic dish with a big payoff, but does require some added attention. The prep work can take a couple of minutes. But keeping the leftovers in your freezer for next time is surely a bonus.
Ingredients: 1 whole chicken cut up into 1/8 th's, cleaned 2 pounds of carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces 4-5 celery ribs, cut into large pieces 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into large pieces 1 turnip , peeled and cut into large pieces 2 bunches dill, washed 1 bunch parsley, washed 1 small onion, whole 1-2 tablespoon kosher salt (as per your taste) Water
Take your dill and parsley and divide them into 2 soup bags and knot the top. A soup bag is a fancy cheese cloth that will keep the herbs from floating around in the soup. This creates a clearer broth. I also stick my onion in the bag because i have some picky eaters, but this is not necessary.
Put the chicken in a soup pot and fill the pot 3/4 of the way with cold water. Cover the pot and place the pot on the stove over a high flame. After the first ten minutes check on the soup to see if any of the schmutz or residue has started to float to the top. Continue to check on it every 5 minutes and ladle off any of the junk that has come to the top. Once it starts to rise you may want to skim off the foam more often to ensure you get as much as you can. Remember, it is important to skim the foam off before boiling so your soup will remain clear and not foggy. (see photos below)
Once it boils, add all the vegetables, the 2 bags of herbs, and salt. I like to put the dill and parsley in a soup bag so it leaves the soup nice and clear. Simmer for 2 hours.
You can make this soup the day you want to eat it or keep it frozen in containers for up to 3 months. Soup is one of the best items to keep in the freezer - perfect to pull out on a rainy day.