Bamitbach

Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

September 19, 2014
Irene Saiger

6 comments

Chicken Soup for a Crowd

photo-7Recently my sister asked me if I ever think about our mother.  I was more than slightly surprised by the question, but Anita explained that I don’t often bring her up in our conversations.  She’s right, I don’t speak of her very much, but still she is never far from my thoughts, especially around the holidays.  My mom did not have her own “signature scent,”  and although she owned one bottle of perfume, Joy, that she purchased before she left Paris in 1952, I don’t ever remember her using it.  She wasn’t one of those women who you associate with the scent of tuberose or jasmine.  Women who I pass on the street of a certain age don’t ever remind me of my mother because she didn’t share their love of hats, statement pieces of jewelry, or the latest fashion.  Mostly, I think about my Mom when I am in the kitchen, when the house is filled with the scent of cinnamon-laced cookies baking in the oven,  of onions frying on the stove-top, of chickens, smothered in garlic, roasting in the oven, or when a pot of chicken soup is simmering for hours at a time releasing that specific smell that announces its’ unmistakable presence.  Those were her signature smells,  and every day she wore a different scent.

Was my mother’s chicken soup unique?  Maybe not, but we loved it.  For us, chicken soup was everything my mother had to offer, concentrated in a bowl.  A dish that was simultaneously nurturing, warm, inviting, and filling.  So Anita, yes, I think about Mom, and right now, while a pot of chicken soup is simmering on the stove, the house smells like her too.

This morning my daughter mentioned that my chicken soup recipe was not on the blog.  There are hundreds of chicken soup recipes but she wanted mine and so here it is.  It is based on my mother’s, but has changed over the years.  This one is large enough to serve a crowd for Rosh Hashana.  In our home we serve kreplach on Rosh Hashana and Matzoh Balls  on Passover.

photo-7

Chicken Soup 

12 pieces of chicken, all thighs or a combination of thighs and breasts

2 cloves garlic, left whole

2 large brown onions, washed but not peeled, and left whole

1 large turnip

4 small parsnips

6 stalks celery, leaves left on, cut in half

2 medium zucchini left whole

2 Roma tomatoes, left whole

2 leeks, white and pale green part only, washed thoroughly, and cut in half lengthwise

2 large carrots, cut in large chunks

1 large bunch Italian parsley

1 Tb kosher salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

20 cups of water or enough to cover

Osem chicken bouillon if needed, about 1 Tb.

Place everything in very large soup pot (this recipes is 5 quarts of water without veggies) or divide into two pots.  Bring to a boil, remove scum from the top, reduce to the point where bubbles are breaking the surface, but nothing brisker than that.   Allow to simmer for about 3 hours.  Drain vegetables and chicken and serve golden broth with kreplach or matzoh balls.  Serves 15-20.   NOTE: Some chickens are less flavorful than others and so sometimes I need to add some chicken bouillon at the end but use sparingly because it clouds the broth.

Enjoy,

Irene

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Chicken Soup for a Crowd

  1. Hi Irene, Sooooo nice to hear about your mom!!!!!!!!! Chicken soup reminds me of holidays and my grandmother. My memories of my grandmother are mixed, but my memories of her food, especially her chicken soup and gefilte fish are only good!!! When i was young, my brother, sister, cousin and i would only make it through the fish and soup, We were full, and wise enough to go off and play after that. Maybe one day i will remember what i knew then!! I am so happy to have your chicken soup recipe!!!!!!! Wishing you and you amazing family a great, sweet, happy, healthy new year, Love, Barbie

    • Thanks so much Barbie. Wishing you the same, health and happiness. Get those recipes down now, a lesson we all need to remember!!! You are still welcome to write about the restaurant!!

      Love,
      Irene

  2. Thanks for sharing the recipe and your reminiscences, Irene. I don’t think I ever got to taste your mother’s chicken soup, but I can almost taste it now… I just repatriated the rest of the kosher chicken thighs from my mother’s freezer to Victoria, and chicken soup for the high holidays would be a fitting way to use them!
    Love Gail

  3. Margaret. I will make a copy of the recipe. Good for us to have in our repertoire.

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