Last week sucked. I had the worst tickly, annoying sore throat that just sucked enough life out of me to make me want to curl into a ball and wrap myself in a giant comforter, but not quite sick enough to actually justify doing this. So i decided to make some soup instead and warm myself from the inside.
It has been said by many a Jewish grandmother (probably other cultures of grandmothers also…) that a good chicken broth will heal anything that ails you. I don’t know why, but I definitely believe this to be true. I had a Jewish Great Grandmother who I remember being an excellent cook… which apparently was my childish ignorance as according to my Grandmother my Great Grandmother was a vastly mediocre cook.
Either way, I was channeling the food of my Great Grandmother when I started making matzo ball soup. Now keeping in mind I was half in the land of the dead, I didn’t remotely bother to go gluten free with this recipe, so I apologize to my gluten-free readers. The good news is that this soup is 85% about the stock, which is gluten free! So for those of you who don’t cheat even when you’re feeling crappy, go as far as the stock and make a nice chicken and gluten-free noodle soup. Or just drink the warm broth. It really does do wonders.
Jewish Grandmother Chicken Stock:
One giant pot filled ¾ with cold water – I used my lobster pot
Three chicken carcasses
Two packages of stock vegetables – cut each into large chunky pieces – leave the herbs whole, and no need to peel anything (they sell these pre-packed at some grocery store)
–4 celery stocks, 2 carrots, 2 onions, 2 parsnips, 1 turnip, a handful of parsley and dill (per pack)
¼ cup kosher salt +more at the end to taste
fresh dill for garnish
Place the water filled pot on the stove over high heat and add the chicken carcasses. Let it simmer for an hour, then add the 1/4 cup salt and the chunky veggies and herbs. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 3 more hours, stirring occasionally – making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. Remove the cover after three hours, stir again, taste and add salt if needed, then let it cook for another hour uncovered – this will let the broth reduce and concentrate the flavors. Once you are satisfied with the flavor/need to eat soup and refuse to wait any longer scoop out the veggies and chicken carcass with a large slotted spoon. I saved the carrots, cut them up and returned them to the soup for eating, but the other stuff I chucked into the bin.
Just before the stock was complete I store one cup of stock and added it to a pasta pot along with water too cook some egg noodles. I shredded the meat from a rotisserie chicken (one of my carcasses also). Then to complete the matzo ball soup I bought a box of matzo meal…and followed the instructions on the back. Lack luster, I know, but again , I was a zombie!
For each bowl I scooped the ingredients in separately, so a bunch of noodles, then some chicken, then some carrot, then a few matzo balls, then the wonderful, healing broth, then some dill for garnish and extra flavor punch.
And whatever you don’t use right away will freeze beautifully, and makes a great stock for any recipe that calls for it!
I think my Great Grandmother would have been proud of this one!
I am healed now :) and this is the kind of soup that makes me want to get sick again soon…you know what I mean.