How My Mother Made Chicken Soup

How My Mother Made Chicken Soup

Karen Alkalay-Gut


(what is the point of this recipe? When you ask a person of the previous generation how to make something, the person doesn't start giving you exact quantities - not because they are hiding something, but because the big job is to obtain appropriate ingredients. "You got a carrot? put it in! a nice celery root? add it. you don't have it? use what you've got!)

So here’s what you do to make chicken soup just like my mother used to.

1. You go to the chicken yard and look at the chickens.

2. You pick a healthy-looking chicken and watch it. Is it walking around all right? Is it eating? Does it fit in with the other chickens?

3. You take your selected chicken to the shochet. You don’t have it sent, because the selection could get mixed up with another chicken. You want to be sure it’s your chicken.

4. Next to the shochet there should be a chicken-plucker who will not only pluck the chicken but will burn what is left of the feathers on his Bunsen burner.

5. You take the chicken back to the shochet to get the head removed.

6. You take the chicken home, and make sure there is no blood in the neck veins.

7. You open up the chicken and examine it. Is every organ in place, is it whole, is it clean? If not you have to bring it to the Rabbi to see if it is kosher.

8. You examine the organs and the unlaid eggs to be put into the soup and put them aside.

9. You rinse the chicken thoroughly

10. You salt the chicken with coarse salt.

11. You place your chicken on a slatted wooden board and lean the board on the inside of the sink

12. You wait up to an hour for the blood to drip into the sink.

13. You rinse the chicken three times to remove all the salt and what is left of the blood.

14. You take out the breast and put the rest of the chicken (excluding the liver and the other innards except for the eggs) in the pot with water, some carrots and celery and a little salt and bring to a boil.

15. Once the chicken boils, you have to watch as the scum on top gathers, and skim it off. This can be done at least three times and you should be watching because, as my mother said: the soup of a cook who sits on her behind – stinks.

16. Let it cook an hour or whenever you’re ready.

17. In the meantime, make the noodles (a bretl lokshen)

. a. Knead the noodle dough (flour and water and maybe an egg) on the kitchen table

b. Roll out the dough so that it covers the table.

c. Sharpen knife.

d. Slice the dough into noodles.

e. Cook the noodles in boiling water.

18. Let the soup cool.

19. Take the chicken out of the soup to be broiled so it looks as tempting as the breast you are about to broil.

20. Put noodles into individual plates

21. Add heated soup

22. serve

23. Enjoy!



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