When I was young, my mum would make chicken soup every Friday night. I am not sure if mum used to cook other things; chicken is however the meal that is most lodged in my memory and my heart.
I don’t remember ever being taught how to make it, I think I worked it out from watching my mum and later reading Evelyn Rose. I was first placed into position of main chicken soup maker when I was about 16.
Since then, over the years, I have made the soup on and off; it is now my family’s favourite, although the kiddies aren’t that keen on having rice together with knidels.
Here is how I do it…
Buy one chicken, ideally not too big and preferably free-range – if you can get giblets – neck and pupick, all the better.
Put chicken in a pot, cover with boiling water.
Add one whole onion and one chopped onion.
Cut-up and dice three or four carrots and three or four celery sticks.
Add salt & pepper and parsley.
Dissolve a chicken stock-cube in water and add.
It takes a couple of hours to cook, turning the chicken over a few times during the process; the Friday night-shtetl smell starts to appear after about half an hour.
Halfway through the cooking, take a quarter bag of Rakusen’s Matza Meal (ideally fine), mix it with half a cup of cold water, salt and pepper and an egg and roll into balls; add the balls – kindels, to the soup and allow them to cook and absorb the flavours.
Boil a couple of cups of rice and drain;
Allow the chicken soup to stand for a couple of hours before re-heating, serve with the rice, and the knidels in a bowl. Ideally have challah to hand.
You can also add chicken to the soup bowl if you want to have it as a complete meal, or remove the chicken from the soup and roast, although as to whether that is successful is very dependent on the constitution of your chicken – I think tougher, older birds are best for that!
Leave the leftover soup over night and bring to the boil again the next day, when it always tastes better.