The Grandma Zone: Chicken Soup

I make my chicken soup in a 12 quart pot. That's huge. Most people have an 8 quart soup pot, maybe a 10. So, you will likely need to scale it back. I also do this almost entirely by feel - I know I've got the right amounts in by looking. I'll try to guestimate as well as possible amounts, but as a benchmark, know that the soup pot is pretty full of ingredients (with lots of airspace, of course) by the time it's time to add the water.

Clean the chicken well. No feathers, and no junk. Place all the ingredients except salt and pepper in the pot. Fill to an inch of the top with cold water. Cover and heat until it gets pretty close to boiling (try not to boil it).

Just before it begins to boil get a teacup and a spoon, and skim off the foamy scum that is rising to the top and discard it into the teacup. Be as uptight about it as you like - the more schaum (scum) you skim, the better the soup will be. Keep skimming until the schaum is gone, or you're really going nuts.

Once you are done skimming, recover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. At this point, I add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. (Kosher salt has larger grains than table salt, so if you're using table salt, reduce the amount.) Bear in mind that I am using kosher chicken, and this is saltier than non-kosher chicken, so you may need to adjust up, but I would wait until later. Add 10 - 12 shakes of pepper.

Really try not to let it boil (especially boil over). Cook on low for at least 1 - 1.5 hours. It's done when the chicken is pricked with a fork easily. I taste it about 1/2 hour before I think it's going to be done to see if it needs more salt/pepper. Beware of too much salt - the soup tends to develop more body and flavor over time, so if in doubt, wait.

I always discard the unwanted vegetables as soon as the soup is done because the life has been cooked out of them and they will just disintegrate and cloud the soup. I remove them with a slotted spoon and press out as much liquid as possible back into the soup. These include: bell pepper, onion, celery. I also remove the chicken and transfer it to another bowl. I do serve chicken in the soup, but it's a lot of chicken, so I also freeze it and use it in agrastada or chicken salad. It's really good for using in other recipes, but bear in mind that while it's moist and tender, it's a bit bland by itself. My chicken salad and agrastada recipes allow for more flavor to be returned to the chicken and take advantage of its moist nature.

Further notes:

Back to The Grandma Zone. Back to the main Jewish Cuisine Forum archive page.