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Tsuni's Golden Chicken Soup

  • 1 8-quart kettle or soup pot with a tight-fitting lid, preferably rescued fron the old country and brought in steerage to America
  • 1 large kosher hen (5 to 6 pounds), with feet (if your butcher can't provide a stewing hen that large, add chicken parts to the one he gives you until you have 6 pounds of chicken)
  • 6 to 8 extra chicken feet
  • Lots of boiling water for cleaning chicken
  • 3 quarts boiling water
  • 1 large carrot (about 10 ounces), cut into 3 big chunks
  • 1 large onion (about 10 ounces), peeled and left whole
  • 3 crisp celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 entire scallion, including greens
  • 1 large parsley root with greens attached (about 4 ounces), peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • About 1 ounce fresh dill, tied together for easy removal when soup is finished
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Have your butcher cut the hen into 8 large pieces. Do not let him remove any fat from this chicken. You will remove excess fat later, but the soup has to cook with the fat for flavor.

Put the chicken feet in a bowl, cover them with boiling water, and let them sit in the boiling water for at least 15 minutes. Then plunge them into ice water. This will make them easier to peel. With a sharp knife, peel off the entire outer later of tough yellow skin.

In another bowl, pour more boiling water over the chicken parts. Then scrape the skin with a small sharp knife to remove any pinfeathers still sticking to the skin and any dirt that adheres to the fatty skin from the processing of the chicken. Soaking and scraping the skin result in a much cleaner broth and almost no scum rising to the surface of the soup to be skimmed away during cooking.

Add the cleaned chicken parts and feet to the pot, including the neck, the neck skin, and the gizzard but not the liver because it will make the soup taste bitter. Add 3 quarts (12 cups) boiling water to the pot, and cook, uncovered, over highest heat until the water comes to a boil again. Reduce heat slightly, and let the ckicken cook for about 5 minutes, skimming away any gray gook that rises to the surface. When the broth seems to be clear, add all ather ingredients, cover the pot, and reduce the heat so that the liquid simmers. Allow contents to simmer for 2 1/2 hours. It is not necessary to peek into the pot very often once you have adjusted the heat.

After 2 1/2 hours turn off the heat. It doesn't hurt to let everything steep in the covered pot for another hour or so if you're not in a terrible rush. The soup will have tremendous body and flavor.

Remove the chicken and vegetables. Strain the soup back into the pot. If you want to remove most of the fat immediately from the top of the soup - you must leave a smidgen for color and flavor - pour the soup into a "souperstrainer," a plastic pitcher that pours from the bottom rather than the top. Otherwise put the pot of soup in the refrigerator to cool untill the fat congeals on top. Then just lift most of the fat off with a spatula.

Remove the chicken meat from the bones. If your family doesn't like boiled chicken added to the soup, make chicken salad from it. You can slice the cooked carrots and celery and add them to the soup when serving. When ready to serve, reheat the soup, taste, and adjust seasoning with salt. Serve over noodles or rice, with cooked carrots, celery, and chicken meat, if desired.

You will end up with about 8 cups of certified Jewish Penicillin that will serve 3 hungry ethnics - or 8 others.

This recipe is from Mother Wonderful's Chicken Soup by Myra Chanin and has been reprinted with permission from the author.
© Myra Chanin.

All contents Copyright ©1998 Kosher Express.