Now's the season when chicken soup is really appreciated. I remember eating chicken soup all of my life. Everyone has a memory or two from his mother about chicken soup. My mother used to cook the carrots with the soup and then put them through a strainer and back in the soup. It gave the soup a nice flavor and color. I remember everyone (except me) fighting for the little premature eggs that came in the chickens from the butcher and went into the soup. The next secret ingredient that went into my mother's soup with the chicken was the chicken feet. Another fight would take place for that delicacy.

Chicken soup arrived first in the poor communities of Russia where for centuries chicken was the only affordable meat. Chicken would serve as a first course, appetizer and the main course. The soup was most often served with lokshen (noodles), knailech (Jewish ravioli) or knaidlech (matzah balls). The question in our home was whether the matzah balls were sinkers (hard) or floaters (fluffy). Each person had a different preference.

Chicken soup is a well-known for its medicinal qualities. The University of Nebraska Medical Center in America found that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe cold-ridden, stuffy noses and sore throats. It is rich in protein and vegetables and acts as a placebo that warms one's insides.

-- Chef Herschel

* * * The following recipes are from

Chicken Soup with Loads of Vegetables


  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 large cut-up chicken, preferably stewing or large roaster
  • Marrow bones (optional)
  • 2 whole onions, unpeeled
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and left whole
  • ½ cup chopped celery leaves plus 2 stalks celery and their leaves
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and quartered
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and quartered
  • 1 kohlrabi, quartered (optional)
  • 6 carrots, peeled and left whole
  • 6 tbsps. chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 tbsp. snipped dill
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 zucchini


Put water and the chicken in a large pot and bring the water to a boil. Skim off the froth.

Add the marrow bones, onions, parsnips, celery, ¾ of the rutabaga, turnip, kohlrabi, 4 of the carrots, the parsley, 4 tbsps. of the dill, and the salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 2 ½ hours, adjusting the seasoning to taste.

Strain, remove the chicken, discard the vegetables and refrigerate the liquid to solidify. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and cut the meat into bite-size chunks. Refrigerate. Remove the fat from the soup.

Just before serving, reheat the soup. Bring to a boil. Cut the zucchini and the remaining 2 carrots into thin strips and add to the soup along with the remaining rutabaga cut into thin strips as well as a few pieces of chicken. Simmer about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked, but still firm. Serve with the remaining snipped dill. You can also add noodles, marrow, or matzah balls.

TIP: Make a chicken salad with the remaining chicken pieces. If you want a lighter-colored soup, peel the onions and remove the chicken as soon as the water boils. Throw out the water, put it new water, add the chicken again with the remaining ingredients, and proceed as above.

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Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup

On a cold winter day, this hearty soup is practically a meal in itself.


  • 16 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 3½ lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 tbsps. (1/4 stick) margarine
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 8 ozs. Dried wide egg noodles
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley


Combine chicken broth and chicken in heavy large pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover partially and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken to large bowl. Cook chicken and broth slightly. Discard skin and bones from chicken. Cut chicken meat into bite-size pieces and reserve. Spoon fat off top of chicken broth.

Return broth to simmer. Add onion, carrots and celery. Simmer until vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover chicken meat and broth separately and refrigerate. Bring broth to boil before continuing.)

Melt 2 tablespoons margarine in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and saute until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Add mushrooms to broth; stir in noodles, parsley and reserved chicken. Simmer until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 12 servings.

* * *

Lime Soup with Tortilla Strips and Chicken


  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsps. olive oil
  • 2 6-oz. corn tortillas, cut into strips
  • 6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tbsps. minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-2 tbsps. fresh lime juice
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half, thinly sliced crosswise
  • ½ cup chopped seeded tomato
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped white onion
  • 6 lime slices


Heat 1 cup oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add tortilla strips; fry until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; drain.

Mix broth and next 4 ingredients in large saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Add lime juice; season with salt and pepper. (Tortilla strips and soup can be made 1 day ahead. Store strips airtight at room temperature. Cover soup and chill; re-warm before continuing.)

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to skillet; saut? 3 minutes. Add tomato, bell pepper and onion. Saut? until chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes longer.

Place 1 lime slice in each of 6 bowls. Ladle soup over. Mound tortilla strips and chicken mixture in center of each.

Makes 6 servings.

* * *

Chicken Soup with Wild Mushrooms and Herbed Matzah Balls



  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 3-lb. chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 large onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 cups water
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 parsley sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onions and cook until brown, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add 12 cups water, celery, parsley and bay leaves. Bring to boil, skimming surface. Reduce heat and simmer gently until reduced to 8 cups, about 5 hours. Strain into bowl. Cover and refrigerate until fat solidifies on top. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead.)



  • 1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/3 cup chicken fat (reserved from stock or purchased)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsps. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 ½ tbsps. minced fresh tarrogan or 1 ½ tbsps. dried, crumbled
  • 1 ½ tsps. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup unsalted matzah meal
  • 3 ½ quarts water (14 cups)
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh tarragon or 1 ½ tsps. dried, crumbled
  • 1 ½ tsps. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup unsalted matzah meal
  • 3 ½ quarts water (14 cups)
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh tarragon or ¼ tsp. dried crumble
  • Minced fresh chives


Place shiitake mushrooms in small bowl. Pour 2 cups hot water over. Let soak until softened, about 30 minutes.

Melt 1/3 cup chicken fat and cool. Combine melted chicken fat, ¼ cup shiitake soaking liquid (reserve remainder), eggs, 2 tbsps. chives, 1 ½ tbsps. tarragon, 1 ½ tsps. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper in medium bowl and beat to blend. Mix in matzah meal. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover mushrooms in soaking liquid and refrigerate.)

Measure 3 ½ quarts water into large pot. Salt generously and bring to boil. With dampened hands, form cold matzah meal mixture into 1-inch balls and add to boiling water. Cover and boil until matzah balls are cooked through and tender, about 40 minutes. (To test for doneness, remove 1 matzah ball and cut open.) Transfer matzah balls to plate, using slotted spoon. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate.)

Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid. Thinly slice mushrooms, discarding stems. Combine remaining mushroom soaking liquid, mushrooms, chicken soup and 1 tsp. fresh tarragon in heavy large saucepan and bring to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add matzah balls and simmer until heated through. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with chives and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

* * *

Chicken Soup with Miniature Leek-Chive Matzah Balls

For bigger matzah balls in this soup, form mixture into 12 rounds and cook them for one hour ten minutes.


  • 6 tbsps. (3/4 stick) unsalted pareve margarine
  • ½ cup packed finely chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsps. ginger ale
  • 1 ½ tsps. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 cup unsalted matzah meal
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • chopped fresh chives


Melt margarine in heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add leek; saut? 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add ½ cup chives.

Beat eggs, ginger ale, salt, pepper and ginger to blend in bowl. Mix into matzah meal and leek mixture. Cover and chill until firm, at least 2 hours.

Line large baking sheet with plastic wrap. Using moistened palms, roll rounded tsps. of matzah mixture into balls. Place on prepared baking sheet. Chill 30 minutes.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Drop into matzah balls; cover pot. Cook matzah balls until tender and evenly colored throughout, about 40 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer matzah balls to bowl. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

Bring chicken broth to simmer in large pot. Add matzah balls and cook until warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Place 4 matzah balls in each of 12 bowls. Ladle soup over. Garnish with chives and serve.

Makes 12 servings.