Saturday, August 24, 2013

Jewish Penicillin for the Soul

After a couple days of being home sick and having absolutely no voice I decided I must do something today.  It's ridiculously beautiful out at the Jersey Shore today and I hate that I am not taking my daughter to the beach, park, or somewhere outdoors.  So, making the best of it, I did a run through at the grocery store this morning, bed head and all.  I grabbed a 4 lb. roaster, some carrots and celery and made a b-line for home to hunker down for the day.  Luckily, I have the most well behaved and understanding 8 year old child there ever was.  She is okay with staying home, opening up all the windows for sunshine and fresh air, and playing with her barbies while I cook, write and rest my weary body.   

Making chicken soup today just feels essential.  The making of it is therapeutic for me - just as much as eating it and reaping its mystical health benefits.  This is not a recipe or a tutorial, more of an anecdote with pictures of my process.  The only "must have" ingredients for chicken soup are chicken, carrots, celery, onion.  The other seasonings can be whatever I have on hand, whatever I'm in the mood for.  Today I'm keeping it simple.  I'm roasting this little gal with nothing more than a rub down with canola oil, some salt and pepper and a couple of sage leaves, mainly because I have an overabundance of sage in my garden at the moment.  
This little lady is known as the "perfect pan".  She is the perfect size for baking ANYTHING!

 I'll pop her in the oven for an hour while I get the gizzards in my stock pot with some carrots, celery, onions, garlic and herbs.  I used all the herbs I have in my garden - a sprig or two of each, and extra thyme because I love the taste of chicken cooked with thyme.  

I use the leafy part of the celery because my grandmother taught me it adds flavor to soups.  Nothing gets chopped up here - carrots and celery are halved, onion is quartered and garlic is left whole.
 I add about 10 cups of water and boil it all down and discard everything that's not liquid gold anyway.  After this little beaut comes out of the oven with a bit of a tan, I plunk her entire body straight into the stock pot on top of everything else and simmer that down for another hour.  Meanwhile I chop more carrots and celery and one little secret ingredient.  The kids don't like their food too spicy but when I am stuffed up I need a little heat to help clear me out.  I picked this little baby jalapeno from the garden and I'm throwing it in, seeds and all.
By the time the kids read this it will be too late! *evil laugh*
  I've also decided to add some ginger.  Not a typical chicken soup ingredient but I love the spiciness and flavor so a little bit of that is going in.  Dried thyme in addition to the fresh, because there really is no such thing as too much thyme when cooking chicken, a *pinch* of this awesome Wildtree Garlic Galore seasoning because it's got really powerful flavor, and a splash of white wine never hurt anyone that I know of.
When my stock is cooked and drained I add these with the chopped veggies and chicken meat and cook for an hour.
For a little bird she gave me a lot of meat.

Last but not least, when this glorious pot of golden deliciousness is about 10 minutes away from being done, I add the only ingredient that is truly Jewish - the Manischewitz egg noodles.  There really is no substitute.

Finally, almost three hours later... my scrumptious labor of love is complete.  And, as I ladel the soup into my bowl I realize, I feel better already...


  1. Wow this sounds tasty! I never cook the chicken before making the soup- I just put it in the pot with all the other veggies (onion, garlic, carrots, squash, sweet potato, turnip, sometimes parsnip). I wanna try your recipe sometime! Sans the jalapeño, though.....

  2. Sweet potato sounds so tasty. I'm going to throw some in the next batch.