The enduring classic. The ultimate comfort food. My family couldn’t be without it. Chicken Soup for the Soul, for the Body, for the Mind, for Life!
I am giving you here a vegetable chicken soup variation my mother lives on almost daily. Then we’ll talk about the variations.
Vegetable Chicken Soup as a Complete Meal:
Everything gets eaten: the chicken, the veggies, the broth. Nothing gets discarded. It’s the best! And if want to go all out, add matza balls to that, and maybe a hand full of short vermicelli: you’ve got yourself a fantastic main course soup!
Do you happen to have lots of leftover turkey bones and scraps, as you often do after a Thanksgiving Dinner? First, place them all in a giant cheesecloth bag (check out the fabulous wrap ‘n boil bags!), then squeeze out as much liquids as you can from the bag (don’t open it!) before discarding. Finally, you will be left with a chicken soup chock-full of vegetables.
Clear Chicken Soup:
If a completely clear chicken soup is what you prefer, then there’s no need to dice the vegetables. Throw them in whole, or cut in big chunks, and then discard them and strain the soup.
The Perfect Matza Balls:
I beg you, do not ruin your gorgeous soup with some matza ball mix that saves you absolutely nothing. Here’s all you need to do for perfect feather-light Matza balls:
1 cup matza meal (not a drop more)
1/4 cup seltzer
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
Good pinch salt
Whisk thoroughly in a bowl, until perfectly smooth.
Do not try to use right away, and do not add matza meal. Refrigerate to firm up the mixture, even one hour is enough.
Bring a large pot water to a boil, then shape balls with the mixture, and throw them in. Watch them swell and float to the surface.
Remove the matza balls with a slotted spoon, and serve them with the chicken soup
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 1 large bunch dill
- 1 bunch flat parsley
- 8 ribs celery, peeled
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 large parsnip
- 1 large turnip
- 1 large zucchini
- 8-10 chicken thighs, or 2 turkey thighs (add any wings and necks if you have them on hand)
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 2 good pinches saffron
- 5-6 bay leaves, or 1 teaspoon ground bay leaf
- Salt to taste
Put three quarts (12 cups) water to boil in a large pot.
While water is heating, coarsely grind the onion, dill, parsley and celery in a food processor. Throw the ground mixture in the pot. Dice all vegetables (if you want to go faster, shred all vegetables in a food processor) and add to the soup with all remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium, and cook covered 1 hour. Adjust texture and seasonings.