With the cold of winter comes the dreaded ‘Flu’ season. We are told to protect ourselves by dressing properly, washing our hands and getting a flu shot. However, if all that doesn’t work, not to worry Jewish mothers have it under control. Medical Studies have concluded that in fact there is a proven medical basis for chicken soup's healing powers…
By: Chef Margie Arosh
Every Jewish child (that had a Mother that cooked!) claims that their Mom made the best the best chicken soup ever. This may be true as the highly sensitive taste buds of a growing child can detect and retain a flavor memory forever or it could just be that eating a comforting bowl of chicken soup reminds all of us of our Moms and home.
Medical researchers do not know whether it is a single ingredient or the combination of all the ingredients that are responsible for the healing powers of chicken soup. However, they have proven that a traditionally prepared chicken soup inhibits the clumping of white blood cells (called neutrophils) that cause congestion and inflammation. This could be the reason for the healing powers of the soup or does it really lie in the hands of who prepares it….
5 Steps to a Great Chicken Soup:
Step One: Make a good stock. Begin by placing washed chicken parts or bones into a large stock pot and cover with about 6 inches of cold water. It is imperative that you begin the stock with cold water to slowly extract the flavor from all the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and clean off the scum. Do not let the soup boil or you will have a cloudy soup.
Step Two: Add the essential flavoring vegetables - carrots, onion, celery. Add seasonings: salt, peppercorns, parsley, bay leaves.
Step Three: Drain the stock, retaining nothing but the liquid.
Step Four: Degrease, the easiest way to remove the fat is to chill the stock until the fat congeals and then easily scoops off or just use a large spoon and skim off the fat.
Step Five: Create the Body: Add your favorite vegetables and shredded chicken. I usually cook the matzo balls or noodles separately to avoid clouding the clear broth.
Next Step: Enjoy!!
Margie’s Chicken Soup
- 1 ½ kilo chicken parts or bones
- 3 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 large onion, unpeeled, cut slits in the sides
- 3 celery stalks and leaves, coarsely chopped,
- 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley,finely chop the leaves and use stalks in the soup
- 1 leek washed well cut into 3 pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 tablespoons chicken soup powder*optional
- Garnish: finely julienned or sliced carrots, leeks, shredded chicken, noodles or matzo balls (recipe below)
Place all ingredients in a large stock pot and add cold water to cover about 6 inches. Bring to a boil and then immediately reduce heat to a low simmer. Clean the scum from the surface add the vegetables and seasonings. Simmer for about 4 hours. (The longer the better)
Remove pot from heat, cool slightly and strain with a fine mesh strainer. Degrease again with a large spoon and adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
Before serving add your choice of garnish; finely julienned leeks, carrots, shredded chicken, noodles, matzo balls or finely chopped parsley.
*Do not peel the onion, their skin impart a beautiful golden color to the stock. *When adding noodles or matzo balls, cook separately in boiling salted water, strain then add to soup.
*Do not allow the stock to boil at any time as it will cloud the soup.