After years of surveying soup, Dan Shomron has finally decided to share his broth bible with us. Strap yourself in for some baseless opinions and vague instructions.
I think it’s needless to say that chicken soup is a classic in any Jewish household. Friday night after Friday night, the so-called “Jewish Penicillin” has kept us warm during cold nights. So why not learn how to make it the best that you can?
Part of the fun in this recipe is that you get to guess how much of each ingredient you use! After all, I’ve never seen my grandma make chicken soup to an exact recipe.
Chicken. Obviously. You could have hen I guess or vegan chicken if you really want but I’d recommend not beating about the bush and just to go with some classic chicken.
Chicken stock. I mean, that is if you’d like your chicken soup to have flavour. I know some people don’t like that.
Vegetables. Classics include carrot, celery, maybe some onion but you should be yourself, choose whatever vegetables you want. But if you even think about putting cucumber in a soup you’ll be banned from cooking for the foreseeable future.
Kneidlach. Personally, I’ve never liked the matzo balls but, you know, some people do. Have them if you want, I don’t really care.
Anything else you can think of. You can really put anything in a soup. Anything? I hear you ask. Yes, anything. Except cucumber.
A secret ingredient. Shhhh don’t tell me it’s a secret.
Salt. A lot of salt.
A nice big pot. This is obviously dependant on how many you’re trying to serve but I’d recommend your biggest pot.
Warmth in your heart. You can’t warm up other people without your own heart being toasty and loving.
A sense of adventure. You’re making chicken soup! You can’t do this without a feeling that you’re about to change a life with your soup, and that is definitely an adventure.
A Nice Jewish Boy™. This is mainly for moral support. If you don’t have any, ask your grandma. She’ll be able to find you a Nice Jewish Boy in seconds.
A fire extinguisher. Better safe than sorry.
Let’s start with the chicken. You need to love it like it’s one of your own children. Stroke it. Sit with it. Maybe a romantic candle-lit dinner date. If the chicken does not feel loved it will not taste good. Once preparations are done, clean it (we don’t want salmonella now do we) and place it in your big pot. Fill the big pot with cold water and let it boil. Explain to your chicken that it’s about to be part of something great. It won’t reply because it is, of course, inanimate, but you’ll feel good.
Throw in the chicken stock for that good flavour. Let me tell you a short anecdote. One time, I had a chicken soup without any stock and not only did it not lift my spirits it practically took my spirits and beat them to the ground. The flavour is far too important for you to skimp out on.
It’s vegetable time baby! Bung them in the hot water and get this party started. I’d also recommend adding your secret ingredient now. Really go wild with choosing your secret ingredient; you only get one after all. Don’t tell anyone but mine is a few hairs of my Nice Jewish Boy. Gives it a really authentic Jewish taste.
We now have to wait a couple hours. Maybe read a book, do your taxes, meet someone, fall in love, elope, have a couple kids, move to the South of France, cry when the young ones go to university because they grow up so fast, pass away in the arms of your loved one then come back in time to start step 5 of your chicken soup.
It’s now time for the chop chop. Take out your chicken and vegetables from the broth and chop those babies up to your heart’s desire. Shred that chicken like you’d shred a skateboard. Then throw them back in the broth like nothing matters and let boil once again.
Now it’s time for everything else. Kneidlach, lokshen, seasonings, blood of a first born. You want the tastiest and most flavourful chicken soup you can get and you should stop at nowhere to get this.
Now take a deep breath because we’re done! Serve warm to your friends and family and as they are positively affected by your warm and nourishing chicken soup. You can smile now because you’ve made the best chicken soup you ever will. Enjoy.