Nothing is better than homemade chicken soup on a rainy or cold day. Today was not only pouring rain outside but I wasn’t feeling too good. So I mustered up the strength to make my moms recipe for chicken soup. “Its like medicine” my mom has always said growing up. Anytime one of us was sick, she would make us this chicken soup with big chunks of yummy vegetables. It was also served every Shabbat (even in the summer!) in our household and at my grandparents home. It is a staple to always have chicken soup on Friday night.
I have basically been eating this chicken soup for as long as I can remember. I started making it myself when I moved away from home. I remember calling my mom and asking her for the recipe. I was shocked at how easy it was to make and how good it actually came out the first time I made it. I just love how simple and healthy it is. The aroma that fills up the house makes me want to nestle in a cozy corner with a bowl of this chicken soup (and sinfully watch crazy reality shows).
Mom’s Chicken Soup
1 big soup pot filled with water
1 whole chicken
1 onion, peel the skin off but leave the onion whole (any kind of onion works well here)
3 celery stalks, cleaned and cut into big pieces
3 carrots, peeled and cut into big pieces
1 medium sized yam, peeled and cut into big pieces
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into big pieces
1 bunch of dill, cleaned
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon of consommé (optional)
Cooking time is about 2 hours.
Fill a large soup pot with water. Leave some room at the top for when you put the chicken in, you don’t want the water to over flow. Let the water boil.
In the meantime, clean your chicken inside out with water and take off any excess feathers with a knife. Once the pot of water is boiling, reduce to gentle simmer and place the whole chicken and the whole onion into the pot. I use a whole chicken because the bones and skin add the most flavor to the soup. You can also use quartered chicken or chicken thighs/legs.
As the chicken is boiling, skim any unpleasant looking foam. Let the chicken boil uncovered for about 30 minutes, continuously skimming the foam just to make sure the broth will be completely clean and clear. If the water evaporates too much, just add more water to the pot.
Once you have finished skimming the foam, take all the cut vegetables (celery, carrots, squash, yam) and add them to the pot filling the empty spots around the chicken. Let the soup simmer for 1 hour on medium to low heat.
While the soup is cooking, wash the dill very good in water. I soak the dill in a big bowl of water and change the water several times until clean. Dill tends to have a lot of dirt on the roots so its important to wash it thoroughly.
Leave the vegetables simmering in the pot and take the whole chicken out of the pot with tongs (carefully because the meat is tender and can easily fall apart). Put the chicken on a cutting board or big flat sheet of aluminum paper. Using tongs and your hands to discard all the skin and bones. Put all the big pieces of white meat back into the soup as you go along and keep simmering.
Once the dill is clean, gently place the whole dill bunch on the top of the soup. You will need to remove the dill so don’t mix it into the soup. Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for another 30 minutes on medium to low heat.
Take off the dill and discard. Taste the broth. Add salt and pepper as needed. You can also add 1 tablespoon of chicken consommé to add more flavor if you prefer.
The soup is pretty much done by now but you can keep simmering it on low (covered) for another 30 minutes if you prefer. The longer you cook it, the stronger the flavors are. Just keep it covered and keep an eye on the water level to make sure it doesn’t evaporate too much.
-The soup will keep in the fridge for a few days and it always tastes better the next day!
-De-fat the soup: If you plan on chilling the soup, it will sometimes (not always) form solidified pieces of fat on the surface that you can take right off from the top before you heat it up again.
Enjoy and please share any comments or questions you may have. I would love to see how yours turns out! Make sure to tag me @lizskosherkitchen if you share it on social media so I can see your masterpiece!