Sunday, March 21, 2010

Passover Chicken Soup

Don't start the jokes about Jewish Penicillin, please.  They are old, hackneyed and boring.  Especially since my recipe is the definitive one. ;)  My darling children complain that cooked turnips resembles potatoes so I should use the "real" thing.

You can use a quartered chicken, but the smaller pieces fit in my pot better.  You can remove all the skin if you prefer, but the soup tastes better if you leave some of the skin on since the skin gives it some flavor.  If the little bit of fat still offends you, chill overnight (the soup, not you.  Well, maybe you as well if you are so easily offended), then lift off and discard the hardened congealed fat floating on top.

Use fresh dill and parsley if you can get it.  Rinse and paper-towel dry the herbs then freeze the remaining bunches for another time.  If you have to use dried, use a lot to get the same flavor.  It does seem as if there are a lot of herbs in this recipe, but just sing Scarborough Fair while assembling the ingredients and you'll be half-way home. :D

Passover chow mein noodles are very good!  I bought a bag to check it  out and it almost passes for the Real Thing.  I haven't found a pesadik egg noodle that I like yet, but I bought yet another brand to check and report on later.

Recipes for knaidlach (matzoh balls) are all pretty much the same.  It doesn't take that much more work to make them from scratch rather than shell out such an outrageous amount of shekels for the mix, so here is a link to a basic matzoh ball recipe from Manischewitz.  Tip:  wet hands with cold water before making the matzoh balls, and make them about 1 inch each because they expand while cooking.  Oh, and double the recipe because it does NOT make enough.  


Passover Chicken Soup
Serves 6 or more, including seconds

1 chicken, most of skin on, cut up into eighths
1 large or 2 small carrots, cut into small chunks
1 large or 2 small parsnips, cut into small chunks
1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 celery rib, diced
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3-4 sprigs fresh dill
3-4 sprigs fresh parsley
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small sage leaves (optional)
peppercorns
1 tsp. kosher salt (if needed)
1 bay leaf (dried is ok here)

Place chicken pieces in a large deep pot.  Add water to cover.  Turn the flame up to medium-high..

While the water is heating up, chop and add the veggies as you go along.  Drop in the herbs.  By now the water should be close to or boiling.

After the water starts to boil, cover and lower heat all the way down.  You don't want to boil the life out of the ingredients, just keep it at a gentle simmer.  Scoop out any scum that might form.

Simmer for 90 minutes.  Turn off heat and carefully remove chicken to a large plate.   Shred chicken and freeze to use another  time.  Discard bones.

Serve soup with passover chow mein noodles, knaidlach or matzoh farfel.  Or all 3, if you are at my seder.

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