From Soup, A Way of Life by Barbara Kafka
Reprinted With Permission. Soup, A Way of Life by Barbara Kafka. ©1998.
- Servings: Makes 11 cups; 5 to 7 main-course servings.
In Soup, A Way of Life, Barbara Kafka writes about her grandmother, Dora, who taught her how a pot of soup can be the warmest welcome to give to family and friends. While nearly every cuisine has a version of chicken soup, with its dill, turnip and carrots, this one will be familiar to most as a traditional Jewish version. It's perfect for Passover when combined with matzo balls.
Ms. Kafka's book is a celebration of soup as a global food and we benefit from her meticulousness as an author and her exquisite palate as a cook. For her many fans out there, you'll be happy to know that she is working on a new cookbook. Few details yet but this is good news.
Some tips from Barbara Kafka:
- She likes to skim all the fat from the soup but knows that others want some "golden globules of fat" to remain on the surface.
- Leave the chicken pieces whole for chicken in the pot.
- Avoid mushy vegetables by cooking them just until tender.
- Stir the cut-up chicken in at the end.
- Instead of, or in addition to, the noodles you can add matzo balls.
- Ingredients: For the Chicken and Stock
- One 5-pound chicken, skinned or not, cut into pieces
- 12 cups water or 8 cups chicken stock (homemade) or store bought commercial chicken broth
- Ingredients: For the Soup
- 2 cups medium egg noodles
- 2 small carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and across into 1/2-inch lengths
- 2 small onions, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 small ribs celery, cut in half lengthwise and across into 1/2-inch lengths
- 1 medium leek, white part only, cut in half lengthwise, washed well, and cut across into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 small turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 small parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
- Stems from 1 bunch parsley, tied together with string
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or less if using commercial broth
- 1/2 cup loosely packed dill sprigs, chopped
- If making stock, in a tall narrow stockpot, bring the chicken and water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the chicken and allow to cool slightly.
- Remove and discard the chicken skin, if left on. Remove the meat, tear into bite-sized pieces, and reserve for this soup or another use. Return the bones to the pot. Simmer for 3 hours and 30 minutes, skimming occasionally to remove impurities and fat.
- Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve, and reserve. There should be about 8 cups.
- For the soup, in a small saucepan, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Season lightly with salt. Add the noodles and cook until tender. Drain and reserve.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the stock, carrots, onions, celery, leek, turnip, parsnip, garlic, and parsley stems to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the carrots and turnips are tender. Remove the parsley stems.
- Stir in the salt, dill, noodles and, if using, the reserved chicken. Heat through.
If adding matzo balls, cook them separately and make sure they are either warm before adding to the soup or else you heat everything through together. Otherwise they will cool the soup before you serve it.