Semifinalist: Traditional Jewish Chicken Soup

Submitted by Phyllis Cantor



3 1/2 lbs. chicken–a roaster or soup chicken, not a fryer–cut up        

1 lb. beef and some beef bones

2 quarts water

1 large onion cut into quarters

1 carrot cut into thick circles

2 stalks of celery or a piece of celery root

Cut pieces ginger

2 peppercorns

1 clove

small piece of bay leaf

salt to taste–kosher chicken will require less salt



1. Put the meat (cut into good size chunks), bones,water, salt and onion in a large soup pot and cook while preparing the chicken

2. Carefully skim the soup as soon as it starts to boil

3. Remove all fat and fatty skin from the chicken–this can be rendered into schmaltz and gribenes if desired)

4. Lightly dust the chicken pieces with ginger  and add them to the soup pot 

5. Add the salt, spices and vegetables 

6. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and simmer slowly until the meat and chicken are very tender

7. Cool the soup and pour through a colander into another pot

8. Remove the carrots and, if desired, the celery– cover and refrigerate

9. Remove the skin from the chicken and discard it, along with the beef bones and beef (depending on your taste)

10. Remove the chicken from the bones, cover and refrigerate

11. Taste soup. If it’s too rich, add water. Adjust salt to taste

12. Refrigerate the soup

13. Before reheating the soup skim off the layer of fat on the top. Soup can now be frozen or reheated

14. After soup is warmed add the carrots, the celery if desired and some of the chicken if desired

15. If you have made matzo balls, add them and heat .

COOK’S NOTES–I often double this recipe except for the beef, which I don’t double. I’ve also made 5 times the basic recipe for a seder. For the chicken I have sometimes used part chicken backs . And while I adjust the amount of beef and bones I don’t use the full amount when making a larger amount.

The soup freezes very well.

The chicken from the soup can be cut up, combined with raw celery, hard cooked eggs and onion and chopped fine in the Cuisinart. Then put in a bowl and add Miracle Whip and salt to taste. The chicken salad makes a wonderful sandwich filling or a scoop can be served on a lettuce leaf.