Chicken Soup

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Matzah Soup

My mother threw the whole produce market into that soup, and she was paid for her efforts in deep, satisfying flavor.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 8 ServingsServings

Ingredients

  • 2 chickens (3 1/2 to 4 pounds each) with giblets (no liver), quartered
  • 2 pounds carrots (yes, 2 pounds, not 2 carrots)
  • 2 large onions, cut in half
  • 5 large ribs celery, cut in half
  • 2 large parsnips
  • 1 small sweet potato (6 ounces), cut in half
  • 1 turnip (6 ounces), cut in half
  • 1 rutabaga (6 ounces), cut in half
  • 1 small celery root, cut in half (optional)
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 large yellow pepper, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 bunches dill, coarsely chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 1/2 bunch curly-leaf parsley (about ¼ cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Kosher (coarse) salt and black pepper to taste
  • Chopped dill, for serving (optional)

Preparation

  1. Place the chicken in a 12- to 16-quart stockpot and add water to barely cover. Bring just to the boiling point. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and skim off the foam that rises to the top. Add all the remaining ingredients (except the optional chopped dill) and only enough water to come within about two thirds of the height of the vegetables in the pot. (Most recipes will tell you to add water to cover. Do not do this! You want elixir of the gods or weak tea? As the soup cooks, the vegetables will sink and will be covered soon enough. Eight to 10 cups of water total is plenty for this highly flavorful brew.) Simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 1/2 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken and about half the carrots from the pot, and set them aside.
  3. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer into another pot or container, pressing on the vegetables to extract all the flavor. Scrape the underside of the strainer with a rubber spatula and add the pulp to the soup. Discard the fibrous vegetable membranes that remain in the strainer. If you’re fussy about clarity (and we’re not), you can strain it again through a fine tea strainer, but there goes some of the flavor. Cover the soup and refrigerate overnight.
  4. When you are ready to serve the soup, scoop the congealed fat off the surface and discard it. Reheat, adding more dill if desired (and we do). Slice the reserved carrots and add them to the soup. Serve the soup with matzoh balls and lukshen (thin noodles) or on Passover with mandlen (soup nuts).