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Passover Chicken Soup


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place fresh dill, a parsnip and a rutabaga on top

Just a quick question for you, Kokh Leffle, doesn't adding a parsnip and a rutabaga give the soup a slightly sweetish (not Swedish!) flavor ? :rolleyes:

Ever the purist, I love my soup clear (yes!!) but salty and chickeny ... :biggrin:

That’s an interesting question Gifted. To my pallet, whatever hint of sweetness I detect comes from the carrots. Also, I avoid the large rutabaga on steroids. I like one about the size of a medium tomato. BTW if your lucky enough to reside in the NY metro area or southeast Florida, I have noticed pre-packaged soup packs in the produce department that include a parsnip, rutabaga and dill that are available around the holidays.

So get a big chicken and add an extra pinch of salt and it will be just the way you love it.

Elie

Eliahu Yeshua

Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.

- Alice May Brock

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Pullets are not old chickens, but young ones. You can raise chickens from the baby chick stage or from the pullet stage, a bit older. The chickens with a lot of flavor, the really old ones, are known as "setting hens", "laying hens", or, culinarily as "stewing hens". They have lots of fat and it is very yellow. I remember noodles swimming in chicken fat.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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The chickens with a lot of flavor, the really old ones, are known as "setting hens", "laying hens", or, culinarily as "stewing hens".  They have lots of fat and it is very yellow.  I remember noodles swimming in chicken fat.

I, of course, realized the error in terminology after it was posted ... pullet is what my butcher calls them when they are, in fact, stewing hens .. so I bought a big one, which may or may not fit into my big soup pot ... but I do love the boiled chicken when shredded and placed into the steaming soup with a matzo ball ... :wink:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Sorry to jump in so late. My husband walked off of the staircase prematurely and ruptured both patella tendons almost 3 weeks ago, and I am just starting to catch up. Our Passover trip to NY is cancelled, and I am not going to have much of a holiday this year.

But I love making chicken soup, so I can't resist jumping in here. I respectfully disagree about the stewing hen - pullets make the best soup. I know this because I can't get true pullets here in Cleveland; I am usually stuck with either stewing hens or capons, and the soup is just not the same, even with a big handful of chicken feet!

I also respectfully disagree with the notion that you make stock first and then turn it in to chicken soup. While this process works with just about any other type of soup in the world, to make "Bubbe's" chicken soup, I put pullet in the pot, cover with bottled water (not tap water - unless you really like the taste of your tap water), bring to a simmer and skim, add parsnips, carrots, celery (preferably with some leaves), onions, simmer again and skim, then healthly doses of both curley and Italian parsely.

The two keys to delicous soup, in my opinion, are: (1) don't let the soup boil - simmer only - boiling will release chemicals in the bones and make it turn cloudy; and (2) cook that bird until the bones are dry and falling apart - get every bit of goodness out of the old girl! A lot of people follow recipies and cook it by time - I cook the heck out of it and wring out every bit of flavor!

Season with salt and pepper and strain. Oy, I miss not being able to make my own soup this year.

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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A bit of humor: The Gastronomic Trauma of Pesach

Not new but really quite clever ...

Welcome to the matzo balls that hit the bottom of your stomach and stay there until Chanukah. In our house there were two ideological streams, not reform and orthodox, but the great matza ball controversy. Every year my aunt and grandmother would fight over what a matza ball should feel like. My grandmother thought it should bounce. My aunt thought it should be declared a lethal weapon.

The table is whiter than a Tide commercial: Crisply ironed linen napkins at each setting which no one knows how to use, gleaming silverware which are like mirrors and make you look upside down (I never could figure that one out), and glassware so clear you couldn't be sure if it really existed. The tension grows - who will be the first to spill their wine. And the race is on...

:laugh:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I made the chicken soup to bring to my mom's house for the sedar. I took over the soup making the year after she didn't feel like making it and instead bought the soup!!! :shock: (Actually, that was the only year no one needed to add salt to their soup.) Anyway, I make stock using a 10 lb bag of leg quarters and however many chicken/turkey carcasses I have stashed in my freezer - this time it was three, plus a bag of raw trimmings and neck bones. That's about average, since I make a roast chicken or turkey breast every couple of weeks. In addition to the protein portion, some peeled carrots, celery with leaves, onion, garlic, pepper, parsley, and dill went in the pot.

My mom used to serve the carrots and celery cooked with the soup. But I always hated that because they'd be all over cooked, mushy, flavorless. So I strain out all the solids in my stock, first through a colander, then strainer, then cheesecloth lined strainer. At this point I'd normally begin reducing (oh yeah, I defat using a gravy separater throughout the stockmaking), but since I want soup, I added some salt and put it into quart containers and chilled in an ice bath. I ended up with 6 quarts, but only need 4 for tomorrow.

I had removed a couple of legs one hour into the simmering, cut off the meat an returned the bones to the stock. The meat was diced, along with some turkey breast I also cooked separately for lunches (Jason loves roast turkey breast sandwiches and it can't be "turkey jello" as we call deli turkey). I also diced some fresh carrot and celery and sauteed that in a little schmaltz and deglazed with the (defatted) turkey drippings (that added a wine element, since I put water and white wine in the bottom of the roasting rack when cooking the turkey). Chopped parsley is thrown in at the end. The vegetables, diced meat and stock are all packaged separately, to be combined in the pot at my mom's house, with her matzo balls -- cooked in salted water.

Obviously, this isn't a recipe recipe, it contains a lot of elements that depend on previous and congruous cooking. But it works for me! :wink:

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just thought i'd say thanks to all for the ideas. the soup i made was a big hit at seder. not exactly what i was aiming for, but close enough and i can probably make a few minor adjustments to get it just right.

for those who asked, i picked bits from all of your ideas to come up with the soup. it was based on the basic chicken stock recipe from the eGCI stock making class, with parsnips substituted for some of the carrots, and the addition of some flat leaf parsley, some dill and a few peppercorns. i also left the skins on the onions as suggested to add color. i cooked everything for a good 6-7 hours, strained out the solids, refrigerated over night and skimmed off the fat (used later in the matzoh balls). separately, i sliced up a couple of fresh carrots and cooked them in a small amount of the chicken soup until just barely tender. at seder, i warmed the soup up and, shortly before serving, added the matzoh balls and the carrots. soup was a beautiful golden color with a nice rich mouth feel.

only real change i would make would be to reduce the ratio of vegetables to chicken, to let the chicken flavor shine through a bit more. otherwise, a really great pot of soup. thanks again.

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