Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.
For many the concept of chicken soup is either tied to matzo balls or feeding a multitude of sick family and friends. Let me suggest that we take a step back from what we think we know and talk about how almost every culture has a version they believe is the original one.
We know that all you really need to make chicken soup is a chicken and a liquid (usually water) of some kind to cook said chicken in. What parts of the chicken make the best soup? Well, hold on to your collective cooking hats because as far as I could tell with all my research there isn’t one part of the chicken (except the head and feathers) that one culture or another doesn’t use in some recipe for chicken soup. Some recipes call for actual chicken feet. Others use just the bones. Some recipes ask you to keep the skin on and others say take the skin off. A few may ask for cut up pieces and a similar one wants you to plunk a whole chicken in the pot. So while every culture has a chicken soup the variation comes in the form of “extra” ingredients like vegetables, pasta, herbs and spices as well as how slow or fast you cook it that determines the endlessly varieties of chicken soups recipes
As for chicken soup being good for you and curing the common cold, well, yes, it does, sort of but it’s not a cure, just a helpful delicious feel better supplement. You’re supposed to drink plenty of liquids when you’re sick, so chicken soup works. Most of the recipes contain a fair amount of salt so it’s sort of like you’re slurping down a delicious salty gargle. It sooths the throat as well as removes the nasty bacteria that’s making you sick. The heat and the steam from your soup can also temporarily help unclog your sinuses. And most importantly, chicken soup just tastes good and it’s easy to digest.
So with the weather changing and our need to start planning our fall menus I humbly offer the following chicken soup with a twist recipes that can be serves to guests, sick loved ones or to anyone just looking for the perfect comfort food.
QUICK AND EASY CHICKEN AND GREEN ONION SOUP (meat)
2 cups brown rice or orzo prepared according to the package
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 egg whites
1 large egg
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
8 green onions, sliced thin
In a large saucepan combine the broth, sugar and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. In a small bowl combine the egg and egg whites and whisk to combine. Add chicken to the simmering broth. Cook for 2 minutes then slowly pour in the egg mixture, but don’t stir it. Scatter the chopped green onions on top. When the egg starts to firm up, after about 2 to 3 minutes, stir gently. When the chicken is done the soup is ready. Divide the rice or noodles between to 8 bowls and spoon the soup on top. Serves 6 to 8
My files, source unknown
CHICKEN VERMICELLI SOUP (meat)
I had this soup at a dinner party last year and was totally wowed by its intense flavor. With fresh corn in season NOW is the time to make this soup.
4 to 5 pounds skinless chicken backs, necks and wings
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off and cobs reserved
2 green onions cut in half
One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped
2 large garlic cloves
8 ounces dry rice vermicelli
2 teaspoons oil
Two 6-ounce skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup soy sauce
Basil leaves and thinly sliced Thai chilies, for garnish
In a large pot, combine the chicken parts with the corn cobs, scallions, ginger, garlic, 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 4 quarts of water and bring just to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, skimming the surface, until the stock is flavorful, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the vermicelli until al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain and cool under running water. Transfer the vermicelli to a bowl and toss with the oil to prevent sticking. Strain the stock into the large saucepan. You should have about 2 1/2 quarts of stock; add water if needed. Add the chicken breasts to the saucepan and return the stock just to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover and let stand until the chicken is just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate; let cool slightly, then shred.
Add the corn kernels to the stock and bring just to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the corn is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the shredded chicken and the soy sauce and season with salt. To serve, fill bowls with the vermicelli and ladle the soup on top. Garnish with basil leaves and Thai chilies and serve.
From Chef Kuniko Yagi/Hinoki & the Bird Restaurant/ recipe published in FOOD AND WINE MAGAZINE September 2013 (modified)
SLOW COOKER TEX MEX CHICKEN SOUP
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained (or 3 ears of fresh corn, kernels off the cob)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup beer (or water if you prefer)
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 package taco seasoning
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts or 8 boneless skinless thighs
Pareve sour cream (optional)
crushed corn chips (optional)
In a crock pot/slow cooker combine the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes. Add the taco seasoning, and mix to combine. Place the chicken on top of the mixture and then push them into the mixture so they are covered. Cover and cook at a low setting for 5 hours or high for 3. At this point you should/can take the chicken out and shred it or cut it into bite sized pieces (let it cool slightly first). Place the chicken back in the soup and cook an additional 2 to 3 hours on low or 1 hour on high. To serve ladle into bowls and top with pareve sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips. Serves 6 to 8 depending on the size of the serving.
Modified from about.com
CHICKEN SOUP ITALIANO (meat)
1 lb. box of bow tie pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 whole cut up chicken, skinned
8 cups chicken broth
1 sweet onion, diced
2 green or red bell peppers sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, diced, no seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 can (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups pareve sour cream
4 tablespoon fresh minced oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. It should be al dente. Drain it, rinse it in cold water then return it to the pan and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top. Toss to coat and set aside.
Place chicken and broth in a large soup pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and then simmer for 30 minutes. Remover the soup from the heat and let cool, covered for about 15 minutes. Take the chicken out and pull the meat off the bones. Set the meat aside and throw away the bones.
In a skillet saute the onions, peppers, celery, and jalapeno in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil just until soft. Add the oregano and cook for 1 minute. Add the mixture to the soup and mix to combine. Add the shredded chicken and the diced tomatoes with the juice. Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Add cooked pasta, pareve sour cream and mix to combine. Cook for 2 minutes then serve.
Modified from epicurean.com
CURRIED CHICKEN SOUP (meat)
2 tablespoons margarine
4 shallots or 6 green onions thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced small
2 teaspoons curry powder
4 to 5 cups chicken broth
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 lb cooked chicken, shredded (leftovers work great)
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
Salt and pepper
3 to 4 green onions, sliced for garnish
3/4 cup pareve sour cream
In a large saucepan saute the green onions, pepper and curry powder in the butter. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the bell pepper pieces are starting to get soft. Add the chicken broth, cauliflower and potato and bring the soup to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and chickpeas Mix to combine, and cook 2 to 3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and whisk in the pareve sour cream. Top with the sliced green onions just before serving. Serves 4 to 6
My files source unknown
GREEK ORZO AND CHICKEN SOUP (meat)
4 chicken quarters, skinless (legs and thighs, attached) skinned
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 carrots, finely shredded
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 dried bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1 cup white wine
water as needed
1/2 cup orzo
Preheat the oven to 350. Place the chicken pieces in a roasting pan and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour. Meanwhile in a large soup pot saute the carrot, celery, onion in the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the white wine and cook for a few minutes until it’s almost dissolved. When done, add the roasted chicken and season with a little more salt and pepper. Cover the chicken with water and make sure it’s about 3 inches above the chicken. Add the bay leaves and thyme. Mix to combine and then bring the soup to a boil. Cover and then reduce to simmer and cook for 1 hour. Skim off fat. Remove the chicken, cool, pull the meat off the bones and return the meat it to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil and add the orzo. Cook until orzo is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Serves 8
Submitted by Tina Carucho Chicago IL
© Eileen Goltz chicken soup 13a
For more great soup ideas, make sure to visit: http://www.ou.org/jewish_action/09/2013/super-soups