Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jewish Penicillin

This week for Passover we made traditional Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls (aka Jewish penicillin). Two years ago, I posted a vegetarian version, and after seeing Mitchell Davis' four stockpots of soup going for his seder at the Beard House, I thought I would post my unfancy recipe.

Yield: About 18 cups soup, or about 12-14 servings.

Salt and pepper three pounds chicken (you can pretty much any part you want; there is a theory that backs, necks, and feet give the best flavor).  Roast on high heat (~430-440 degrees) until it takes on color, about 30-40 minutes).  Save skin and liquids (separately) if making gribenes and schmaltz.

Add roasted chicken along with three carrots, two medium onions, and a stick of celery (all chopped) to stockpot along with enough water to cover.  Salt and pepper conservatively (you will add more and adjust at the end).  Bring the pot up to boil then down to a simmer.  

Simmer for 2 hours, skimming at the beginning.  (Don't spend your entire time skimming like there is no tomorrow.  You want to remove most of the remaining impurities after roasting, but when the soup is refrigerated, the fat will congeal to the top and you can remove it easily with a spoon.)  

At the end of the two hours, adjust again with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate soup overnight.

The next day, skim the surface and remove chicken parts.  Pass through sieve or cheesecloth if clear broth is desired.

Bring the soup back up to a low simmer.  Taste again for salt/pepper.  Thirty minutes prior to serving,  add cooked matzo balls, deboned soup chicken, and fresh herbs if desired (dill, parsley).

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