We received about a dozen responses from readers who responded to our call for chicken-soup recipes. Most were of the matzo-ball variety. Others were inspired by Italian, Irish and Armenian influences. And one response came from the authors of a cookbook based on Biblical food references. Read the recipes — after the jump.
And yes — we came up with this story idea before I got sick!
Italian Wedding Soup
Mariann Raftery of New Rochelle, whose blog is somebodys-mom.com, writes “Italian wedding soup is the name probably from years ago…. I don’t know where it came from, but I have never had it at a wedding during my generation. That’s something I should probably search on the internet.
“I just know that I have made this soup many times over the years in the winter. I love hearty soups and this is like a meal.
“I sometimes make it with mini cheese raviolis, my family’s favorite. I have made it for a first course for a holiday dinner, Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, many times.
“There was a chicken soup my mom made growing up all the time, called Mennes Soup (not sure of the spelling. I never was crazy about it, because the greens used are a little bitter to me, but my brother makes it all the time. I make chicken soup with spinach instead and lots of parmesan cheese. Always parmesan cheese in any Italian soup. We use the cheese instead of salt.
“Basically this is chicken soup with spinach, mini meatballs and parmesan cheese.”
1 pound of ground beef, pork or turkey
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used stale Italian bread soaked in hot water and drained)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 onion, chopped small
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (48-ounce) can of chicken broth (homemade turkey or chicken broth is best if I have it)
1 1-pound package of small pasta, cooked (I use orzo or ditalini)
1 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, cooked and drained
Parmesan cheese for garnish
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, onion and salt and pepper. Mix well. Shape into meatballs about 1 inch size. In a large pan, heat olive oil. Cook meatballs about 10-20 minutes or until browned all around. Drain the fat and set aside.
In a large pot, put chicken broth and add the spinach. Add meatballs. Heat thoroughly. Simmer about 10 minutes.
Serve with pasta. Do not put pasta in the soup pot or it will absorb all the liquid. Put soup in bowl and then add pasta according to the amount you desire.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Bubbi’s Chicken Soup
Ellen Rachlich of Chappaqua writes, “My grandmother, Bubbi Shana, was a widowed kosher butcher living in Hartford, Connecticut, in a three-family house with her sons and daughter. On Friday afternoon, she would close the butcher shop and go home to put up a big pot of chicken soup and make her own challah bread. When we visited from New York, I would be her number one helper. Sometimes the soup would be served with matzo balls, homemade luction (noodles) or meat kreplach (mini raviolis). Being a kosher butcher, she used many unused parts of the chicken. My mom, Bubbi Yetta, continued this and my girls couldn’t get enough of her chicken soup. We even got homemade kreplach from my Aunt Fannie, who was a kosher caterer. Today I have grandchildren of my own and when I made chicken soup recently, my 2-year-old granddaughter said Mammy makes good soup. My daughter even said this soup tastes just like Bubbi Yetta’s. I truly had good cooks to learn from and will carry the Bubbi’s Chicken Soup recipe down through generations.”
Kosher salt to taste
1 kosher chicken (whole or parts)
1 or 2 cans chicken broth depending on size, fill pot with water to cover the chicken
1 supermarket package of chicken soup vegetables, which includes peeled carrot, whole onion, leeks, celery, parsnip, dill (save for a garnish when serving)
Put all in pot adding water if needed. Bring a simmer and skim off waste occasionally. Simmer for 1-2 hours.
My mom used a kosher whole fryer and would remove, put on some barbecue sauce or season with paprika and bake until skin crisp. This would be our Friday night supper. Enjoy!
Matzo Ball Soup
Anthony Chiffolo and the Rev. Dr. Rayner W. Hesse Jr., authors of “Cooking with the Bible,” write, “We created both of these recipes for our book ‘Cooking with the Bible,’ which was published in hardcover in 2006 and in paperback just last year. (It has, in fact, also been published in German and Chinese, with Korean and Russian editions pending.)”
3 eggs, separated
3 olive oil
2 tablespoons seltzer water
1 1/2 cups matzo meal
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 scallion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
9 cups canned chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, cut and pressed
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 large onion, studded with three cloves
1 bay leaf
A bit of oil and water
In a blender, combine egg yolks, olive oil and seltzer water. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Slowly pour in egg yolk mixture. Add the matzo meal, dill, parsley, thyme, scallion, salt and pepper. Refrigerate mixture for 45 minutes, or longer if time allows. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine chicken stock, garlic, carrot, celery, onion with cloves, and bay leaf, then bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer.
Wet hands with a bit of oil or water and form small balls out of the matzo mixture. (Do not make them too large, since they expand greatly in cooking.) If the mixture seems too wet, add more matzo meal. Gently lower balls into the simmering stock. Cover and simmer once again, this time for 30–45 minutes. Do not uncover the pot while cooking. Remove bay leaf and clove-studded onion, and serve hot.
Yield: 6 servings
Nana’s Chicken Soup
Kathy Plachy of Upper Nyack writes, “My Nana, Elizabeth Dorety, was quite a character. Our visits to her in Trenton, N.J., were some of the happiest times of my childhood. She worked all her adult life, had four children and came from a very traditional Irish Catholic background. My mother told me that during the Depression, when money was tight for her and my grandfather, Nana changed her birth date on some records so that she could get a job. When she passed away years later, there were some problems establishing her real age. I was also told that during hard financial times, Pop Pop Dorety would hunt squirrel, and he and Nana would have squirrel stew for dinner, feeding store-bought food to their children, in order to save money. When her health started to fail in her 70s, her doctor suggested that a small glass of sherry after dinner might be good for her. She was reported by my mother to have responded. ‘Alcohol has never passed my lips, and it never will.’
“I remember eating this soup when we visited her, though we weren’t aware that she used the gizzards in her recipe. This would have been back in the 1950s and 60s, so the heart, liver, etc. were not removed and packaged separately. Since another relative had a chicken farm in the area, it is possible that Nana made this soup from a really fresh chicken. The first time I made this as an adult, I left out these parts and the sugar, but the soup just wasn’t as good. I am sending this recipe just as it was printed in a cookbook sold as a fundraiser, probably in the early 1970s, for St. Ann’s Church in Trenton. Her last statement in the recipe is very characteristic of my Nana.”
1 large or 2 small chickens
2 large onions, sliced
4 fresh carrots, sliced
4 sprigs of parsley
2 teaspoons sugar
1 minced pepper
2 stalks of celery, sliced thin
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups of cooked noodles
Place in a large pot the chicken or chickens and add 1 quart of water. Add the onions, carrots, parsley, sugar, pepper, celery and salt. Boil until chicken is tender. Remove and when cool, remove all bones from chicken and cut in medium chunks. (Including liver, heart and gizzard.) Place back on the stove and after it boils, add 2 cups of noodles. This is a wonderful meal for the children.
Chicken Soup with Tomatoes
Paula M. Belli of Port Chester writes, “I am of Italian background. I used to make chicken soup, but it did not have gusto to it. One day I had my friend Fran’s chicken soup and it was delicious. I learned her secret to a great soup: tomatoes.
“I use only chicken breasts with the bones. I keep the skin on and put them in a large pot, with water filled almost to the top. I do add some salt, not much though. The pecorino romano cheese that gets added when you are going to eat it, adds more salt.
“I quarter an onion, cut up about 3-4 tomatoes, and add some carrots. The carrots are cut into about 5 pieces. I let my soup simmer for about 2 hours. I then take the onion, tomatoes and some of the carrots out of the pot. I puree them and then add them back to the pot. The chicken breasts are taken out and allowed to cool. Then they are shredded and added back to the pot. I then add orzo macaroni. It must be orzo; it is the best macaroni for soup. When the macaroni is done, the soup is ladled into the bowl. Everyone adds as much cheese as they want. Now that is the best soup around.
“A nice slice of bastone bread also goes well with the soup.”
Grandmother’s Matzo Ball Soup
Marian Steinberg of White Plains writes: “From as far back as I can remember in my childhood, my grandmother’s chicken soup was a taste delight! My mother also made marvelous chicken soup, but we lost her young, while my grandmothers lived on for years and continued to prepare homemade soup. Then my mother-in-law came along, and her chicken soup became the best. Back in those generations, nobody talked about chicken soup for the soul, but surely that is a right-on apt phrase! Now I’m the mother, mother-in-law and grandmother, and I’ve been determined to carry on the tradition. I currently make a very large amount of soup and matzo balls, as our extended family has grown over the years. I usually start the matzo balls three days before serving, finish them two days before, and the soup one day before. Recipes can be modified accordingly for smaller groups.”
Matzo Balls for a Large Group (About 30)
5 cups matzo meal
2 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 rounded tablespoon salt
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth (about 1 1/4 cups)
In mixing bowl, put matzo meal and 2 1/2 tablespoons salt, and mix (dry) with a spoon.
In largest mixing bowl, put eggs and oil, and use mixer at low speed to combine. Pour matzo meal mixture into egg/oil mixture. Add the chicken broth and quickly mix well, again using the lowest speed of the mixer. Divide the mixture into 3 bowls, cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, fill a 20 quart pot with 9 quarts of water and bring to boil. Add the rounded tablespoon salt. Remove 1 matzo meal batter bowl from fridge. Reduce flame (or power) to medium.
Roll matzo balls by hand to approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and drop each into the slightly boiling water. After emptying 1st bowl, wash and dry hands, remove 2nd bowl from fridge and proceed as before. Then wash hands again, and do the same with 3rd bowl.
If mixture gets too “gloppy” at any point, wash hands and then resume. Work quickly, as mixture gets gloppier (and harder to form into balls) as it loses its chill.
Cover pot and boil for 40 minutes on low-medium heat. Tilt the cover 1/2 inch open on one side.
Cool matzo balls and refrigerate covered in a 6-quart pot or very large bowl. Add the matzo balls to the chicken soup shortly before heating up the soup on the day of serving.
Yield: About 75 matzo balls)
Chicken Soup for a Large Group (About 30)
3 (4-pound) roaster chickens or pullets, cut up, with giblets
4 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
3 large onions, quartered
8 stalks celery, with leaves
8 peeled carrots
8 whole peeled garlic cloves
8 sprigs fresh parsley
8 sprigs fresh dill
Heat 10 quarts of water in a 12-quart pot (or larger) to boil. Meanwhile, wash all chicken parts and leave in sink, backs up. Pour 1/2 the boiled water over backs. Turn chicken pieces, and pour remainder of water over tops. Place chicken in 20-quart pot. Add 8 1/2 quarts. water, plus salt and sugar. Bring to boil over highest flame. Then lower heat to medium, and skim brown material off top with large soup skimming spoon. (A small strainer can be used as a substitute.) Cover pot with 1/2 inch space open, and boil 1 hour. During this hour, skim about 5 more times, until soup is clear.
Meanwhile, prepare the 6 vegetables. After the first hour, add them to the soup. Continue boiling for another 1 1/2 hours, using low heat, with pot covered leaving the 1/2-inch opening.
Remove all the chicken and vegetables to large plates or bowls. Strain the soup that remains into a 12-quart pot. Wash and dry the 20-quart pot. Strain once more, back into the 20-quart pot. Cool, and then refrigerate. Add matzo balls on same day as meal.
Yield: 9 quarts clear soup, before adding matzo balls.
Note: Any leftovers of matzo ball soup can be frozen without a loss in taste quality. They can be given to guests to take home the next day, and/or kept frozen when needed in future for medicinal effects! Bon appetit!
Grandma’s Chicken Soup
Marilyn Brenner of Pearl River writes: “This soup is a staple at our Friday night Shabbat dinner. I think it is so delicious because of the slow simmering (courtesy of daughter-in-law Lauren Brenner) and last minute addition of the herbs. My grandchildren, Samantha and Asher, absolutely love Grandma’s Chicken Soup, especially when home-made matzo balls are added!”
1 package chicken parts or turkey wings
1 package fresh soup vegetables
3 tablespoons Osem Chicken Soup Mix
Clean chicken or turkey wings and put in a large pot.
Add water to cover. (Do not add too much water.)
Bring to a boil.
Add vegetables that have been cleaned and cut up.
Add Osem chicken soup mix. (You may need to add some water to make sure all the vegetables and chicken are covered.)
Bring to a boil again.
Simmer on low heat for two hours.
Add parsley and dill.
Simmer another 15 minutes.
Cool (about 30-45 minutes).
Put through colander. Add carrots to soup. Put in plastic containers.
This soup freezes very well. When using, skim fat off top.
Gloria Ingrao shares her recipe.
1 cut-up chicken, including innards
4 quarts water
1 large onion, quartered
1 large white potato
4 stalks of celery
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons parsley
1 heaping tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Pasta, such as orzo
Place the chicken in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Skim off the foam that comes to top of the water.
Add the onion, potato, carrots, celery, tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour.
Remove chicken and pass soup through a colander or sieve and return to the pot. Puree vegetables in a blender or food processor and return to the soup.
Boil a pasta such as Acine de Pepe or orzo. Drain and add soup to moisten.
When ready to serve, spoon some pasta into individual bowls and add more liquid soup. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese for added flavor. The soup can be served this way but as an added attraction, some shredded boiled chicken can be added.
Armenian Chicken Soup
Agnes B. Bostonian of Hartsdale writes “I am Armenian and here is my mother’s Armenian Soup recipe. She made this whenever we were sick and enjoyed it immensely. I am 85 years of age and will share it with you.”
2 cups of cold water
Goodman’s fine egg noodles
1 can College Inn chicken broth
In a pot put the cold water with 2 handfuls of fine egg noodles and bring to a boil.
Add the can of College Inn chicken broth and cook for 10 minutes. In a cup put the raw egg and beat well. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and beat again.
Turn off the pot of noodles and very gradually add one tablespoon of the broth into the cup stirring well a spoonful at a time until the cup is full with the broth. Be careful that it doesn’t curdle. It must be smooth, not like egg drop soup. When the cup is full, add to the chicken noodle soup, stir and serve.