Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup
This chicken soup is famous (well, at least in my little world). No one eats my mother's chicken noodle soup and goes, "eh, that was okay." People eat this soup and then walk up to my mom, tremulously hold out their bowls, and implore, "Please ma'am, I want some more!" (Fine, I may be confusing this soup with the porridge in Oliver Twist, but really, guests ask for seconds of this soup all the time.)
Did you know that chicken soup has REAL medicinal healing properties? And that chicken soup tastes incredible? To quote the chicken soup I had last weekend: "Winning!" (Yes, my chicken soup talks).
So what makes this chicken noodle soup so special? Well, apart from the fact that this recipe has been adapted and improved over the past 30 years by my mom and that there's a boat-load of vegetables in this soup, there's another secret trick to making sure this chicken soup is extra tasty: cooking it for a long, long time. Three hours is too short. Four hours is acceptable. Five hours is satisfactory. Six hours is great. Seven hours is ideal. Yes, cooking this soup for LITERALLY seven hours is perfect.
The longer this soup cooks, the more flavor and richness it develops. The shorter this soup cooks, the less flavor and richness it develops. I could draw a graph for you to illustrate this thesis, but I won't. Because I'm too lazy. But I hope you understand my point without it.
My mom serves this soup on Friday nights for Shabbat dinner, and then again for Sunday dinner. And nobody complains.
Of course, everyone has his or her own preference when it comes to eating this soup. Some prefer eating it the traditional way - soup, matzah ball, and noodles/rice/barley. Others like adding vegetables to the mix. I like eating mine with (a whole lot) more vegetables than liquid. I'm talking carrots, celery, zucchini, parsnips, and even the dill and parsley.
A lot of the ingredients in this recipe are included solely to impart flavor, and are not meant to actually be consumed. But c'mon, who cares what those ingredients were meant for? Have a particular penchant for munching on whole garlic cloves? Go ahead, chow down on the ones in this soup!
You can make a whole meal out of this chicken soup by including the actual pieces of chicken put into the soup, some of the vegetables, noodles, and a matzah ball in your bowl. Protein, veggies, carbs, deliciousness - you're all set! Oh wait, I'm so silly; it's not a full meal, because you're missing dessert. Duh.
Mom's Chicken noodle soup
Yield: 8-quart pot
4 pieces chicken of your choice (breast gives you the clearest and lightest soup; wings and legs are also good)
1 parsnip, peeled
1 turnip, peeled
1/2 bunch leeks - use only white part
5 stalks celery, halved
3-4 spanish onions, peeled
3-4 large carrots, peeled and cut
1 zuchinni, halved
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic
Few sprigs fresh dill and parsley - place into cooking bag to keep soup clear
4 tablespoons salt
Dash of pepper
Place all ingredients into an 8-quart pot and cover with water.
Bring to a full boil. Once boiled, cover, lower flame to a simmer, and cook 4-7 hours. The longer the soup cooks, the more flavorful it gets.
Remove the bay leaves, garlic cloves, and any other vegetables you don't want to eat (parsnip, turnip, leeks etc.)
Serve with noodles, cooked rice, croutons and/or matzah balls.
Matzah balls: I used a matzah ball mix. Follow the directions on the box to make the Matzah balls.
On a completely unrelated note, only me: