I did a soup posting last week and I normally would not do another soup recipe so soon. I do have a reason. The kosher link up for this month is “comfort food” (see below!). There are plenty of foods that I consider comfort food – spaghetti and red sauce, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, the list could go on. However, if I was to pick my ultimate favorite comfort food it would be a hot bowl of chicken soup. There is just something about walking in the door to the smell of chicken soup cooking on the stove. It is what makes you feel better when you are sick, when you are cold and when you are down.
Part of the reason chicken soup is my favorite comfort food is that it reminds me of family. Everyone has at least one grandma with a chicken soup recipe that was probably passed down from her grandmother. Since I have already posted my family’s chicken soup recipe on this blog I decided to post my husband’s grandmother’s recipe. Unfortunately Grandma Shirley (aka Rue) is no longer with us. I am so lucky that I was able to sit down with her one day in her kitchen and for her to tell me how she makes her chicken soup. I only had it once, but I remember it being delicious. You could taste the love. She never did write it down, or give me exact measurements, so I just experimented and added my own touches until I came up with what I think is a pretty darn good chicken soup.
Being that I love chicken soup I am pretty picky when I eat it out or at someone else’s house. I find that people often go overboard with the dill, or that the soup does not have a lot of flavor. You won’t have that problem with this recipe! It has rich and delicious and perfect. The key ingredient (according to Grandma Shirley) is the sweet potato. Funny enough, this is the secret ingredient in my carrot ginger soup as well. It adds a sweetness and great color. I have made it without the sweet potato and it is just not the same. You just want to be sure not to put it in until an hour before you serve as it could fall apart. The other 2 ingredients that are key are the parsnip and turnip. I know these are not items you buy every day, but they make a big difference in the flavor of the dish.
The soup is very easy to make. You basically just throw everything in a pot, add water and come back to stir every once in a while. The time commitment comes from letting it cook for hours. I say two hours is the minimum, but the longer the better! You can leave it cooking on the stove and get on with whatever else you need to do.
I personally like this soup with matzah balls, but it is also great with noodles, rice or just with the vegetables. You can either shred the chicken and add it to each bowl, or leave it out. Leftovers are delish and it also freezes well. Just be sure to serve it HOT.
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 2 – 6 hours
Yield: 8 servings
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, cut into coins
2 large celery stalks, cut into medium sized pieced
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into coins
1 large turnip (or 2 small ones), peeled and chopped
1 pound chicken thighs or legs and 1 pound chicken breast, skin removed on the bone
1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into medium sized chunks (not small, they will break up)
6 sprigs fresh parsley
6 sprigs fresh dill
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large bay leaves
3 quarts water
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
Coat the bottom of a very large soup pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium temperature. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, parsnips and turnip. Allow vegetable so soften, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
Add the chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper. Fill the pot with water until the chicken and vegetables are covered by at least 5 -6 inches. Again add a few pinches of salt and fresh cracked pepper. Tie parsley, thyme and dill together with twine and add to pot along with the bay leaves. Stir well.
Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low so that the soup is simmering. Skim the fat and any solids off the top of the soup. Let the soup simmer. Come back every 30 minutes to stir and skim any fat or solids.
About an hour before you are going to serve the soup add the sweet potato. You do not want to add it in the beginning because it will fall apart in the soup. When you add the sweet potato bring the soup to a boil again by raising the heat. After it boils reduce to simmer. Keep it over medium-low heat until you are ready to serve.