Chicken soup is like no other. If you can boil water, and enjoy chicken, this wonderful broth is yours.
It was in my teens that I decided not to replicate my mother’s cooking. For one thing I had no knowledge of cooking and found it a mundane process of constantly thinking what to make. The entire idiocy of working in the kitchen, setting a table and within 1/2 hour the process was over. This did not appeal to the skinny girl with unusual tastes in clothing who would rather read books.
Sure I was intrigued by the passing parade of tasty dishes and finished all the courses offered to me. They were infused with love and the sweet aroma of fresh baked pies, oven baked Miami ribs sweetened in their own juices, not to mention the chopped liver and varnishkas, a dumpling either boiled or fried filled with potato and onions or cheese.
Chocolate Chip Cookies and Romance
I was seventeen and it was time for romance, and I still had not ventured too close to the stove. Unless my hunger was vocalizing in my stomach, I did not feel compelled to even talk about cooking, and chocolate chip cookies were plentiful at the local market.
Suddenly my knight in denim jeans appeared and after a courtship of a year, he asked me to marry him while watching a movie, and I found myself with an engagement ring on my right hand. Marriage was still on the horizon and I was content to eat at home, knowing restaurants could not compete with the tantalizing food prepared right here. The difference now was that my fiancée was just as happy with this arrangement. Now he too, was sitting down to dinner and enjoying himself. The clock was ticking and there was little time to familiarize myself with the stove.
Jewish Chicken Soup Recipe
We relished the different meals that streamed from our tiny kitchen each night and Friday was no exception. That night we had chicken soup; you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy this soup and I am including the recipe here:
- 1 chicken quartered with giblets, (the butcher will put these in, if you ask, or they are sold separately)
- fill a large pot 2/3 full of water and bring to a boil,
- skim off the foam from the soup until it is clear, and lower temperature to medium
- add 2 heaping tbsp. chicken style consommé mix for extra flavor
- 2 large onions,
- 4 large carrots,
- 4-5 celery stalks,
- 2 parsnips,
- 1 turnip,
- 2 tsp. salt, black pepper to taste, curly parsley and 2 tbsp. dill
Cook and simmer 2 hours.
It is the traditional penicillin and a prescription isn’t needed.
Matzo Balls Ready Made
Matzo Balls are also known as knaidlach, fluffy cream coloured balls that are prepared and cooked separately from the soup, and added when you serve.
Some are known as floaters and some known as sinkers, depending on your style but I assume you like the kind that rises to the surface and are light. Kneading the mix more than necessary will produce matzo balls you can play Frisbee with.
Hand Made Matzo Balls
For those who insist on the real thing, here it is:
- 1 tbsp. oil, mixed with 2 eggs in a small bowl,
- add 1/2 cup matzo meal,
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder,
- 1 tsp.
- 2 tbsp. water.
Refrigerate after mixing, until the mixture sets (about 20 minutes) while boiling slightly salted water. With damp hands roll the mixture into medium sized balls, like a snowball and cook until they come to the surface and float. For those who would rather buy them ready made, find a mix, add eggs and follow directions on the box.
Noodles can be added to the soup and are called lokshen which is egg pasta or packaged soup noodles which appeal to small children. Now, what about the chicken left over from the soup?
Well it can be served cold next day in sandwiches or used in salads to make a healthy chicken salad or serve soup again.
Recipes and African Masks
Time progressed rapidly as only time will and before too long, I was married.
Wanting to show off my own culinary skill, I ventured into the kitchen where in the lower cabinets were gleaming pots and pans that had never seen daylight. My first meal was memorable from any standpoint. The music was playing softly from the Clairtone stereo in the living room and in the galley kitchen; I prepared the chicken soup for the first time.
Since it was a wonderful spring day, he suggested we go for a walk, and put the soup on simmer, and away we went. Luckily we discovered a shop selling wonderful driftwood pieces and African masks. After deciding on the driftwood sculpture we took it back to our apartment. While he scanned the walls to find the perfect place for our treasure I lifted the lid from the pot on the stove. Five meatless chicken bones sat in a pot, without water, surrounded by charred vegetables. It reminded me of a Picasso painting or was it Salvador Dali?
That night we ordered in Chinese food, and it would not be the last time.