My best chicken soup recipe

I think we all probably remember the time when we were young and under the weather, and Mom would make us chicken soup to help hasten our recovery.

As a matter of fact, tales of the recuperative powers of chicken soup go back a long time – it was prescribed as a cure for the common cold way back in ancient Egypt, and in the 12th century the Jewish doctor and philosopher Maimonides recommended chicken soup for people suffering from hemorrhoids and the early stages of leprosy.

Modern scientific research has also shown that the restorative powers of chicken soup are more than old-wives tales.

Whatever the historic and scientific background, however, nowadays chicken soup is recognized worldwide as a restorative comfort food. Known in Korea as Samgyetang, in Portugal as Canja and in Greece as avgolemono, you’ll find you can get delicious chicken soup versions wherever you go.

The recipe below is the ultimate and best chicken soup recipe I have ever come across. My mother based it on the traditional Jewish recipe, and it’s guaranteed to knock the socks off all Jewish grandmothers. (As a matter of fact, if you're looking for a great Passover chicken soup recipe, this will really do the trick).

I do agree, however, that this is not the ultimate camping recipe, because of the special ingredients involved. Please do not leave any of them out, as tempting as it may seem - they are what make this soup unique.

What I usually do is make it at home a few days before our trip, freeze, and then re-heat at our camp site. And if it's chicken noodle soup you prefer, then just prepare the noodles according to the recipe on the packet, or in the soup itself as you re-heat, and you’re set.

Here’s what you need:

Ready to cook a pot of my best chicken soup recipe?


Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. fresh chicken, cut into six pieces, skin removed
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1½” chunks.
  • 3 root parsley or parsnip, peeled
  • 1 celery root, peeled
  • 2 ounces fresh ginger, peeled (about 2 medium stalks)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 1 lb. pumpkin, peeled and cut into 6 cubes
  • 3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 large, ripe tomato, halved
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 stem lemon grass
  • 1 branch herb Louisa
  • 24 large peppercorns, whole
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6-8 pints water (I get best results with mineral water). The water should suffice to cover all the solid ingredients in the soup recipe, reaching about ¾” below the rim of the pot.
  • Coarse salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. Wash all the ingredients really well
  2. Add the ingredients in layers to the dry pot in the following order:
  3. Layer 1: Dill, parsley, herb Louisa, lemon grass
  4. Layer 2: Chicken
  5. Layer 3: Carrots, root parsley, celery root, pumpkin
  6. Layer 4: Tomato, garlic, onion, ginger, zucchini
  7. Layer 5: Peppercorns, bay leaves
  8. Add water and sugar. Bring to boil on high heat. When the soup begins to boil, thoroughly remove the grayish foam, then cover the pot. Leave a small opening so the soup does not boil over.
  9. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 3½ hours. The soup will reduce during the cooking process, so try to reduce the heat continuously. As a last resort, remove the lid to cool it down. Add the salt towards the end of the cooking process, according to taste.
  10. Leave to cool, remove fat accumulated on the top, re-heat and serve. Soup can be served as clear consommé or with vegetables and meat. If you wish, you can also add egg noodles to the soup. (Can be refrigerated and served the next day)

Like I said, my Mom's best chicken soup recipe, and not complicated at all.

It's a great comfort food, and is traditional enough to be used on all Jewish holidays. So why not give it a try, I'm sure you'll love it too.