Winter in New Zealand started on 1 June and there’s no doubt in my mind that Christchurch got the memo. It feels like it’s been raining nonstop for weeks and I’m now refusing to leave the house without mittens firmly in-hand. My friends back in the States may be out running errands in sundresses and flip-flops, but I’m currently rotating through every turtleneck I own.
Needless to say, soup weather is officially here.
My go-to in the winter is chicken soup because of its general deliciousness and immune boosting benefits which help stop colds dead in their tracks.
In the States, I was usually lazy and instead of spending hours making my own from scratch, I’d grab a takeaway carton from the local deli. Store-bought soups tend to be a bit saltier than I prefer, but they usually come with the added bonus of a matzah ball or two.
Pro Tip:If you’re in the Chicago area, I highly recommend Max and Benny’s, their matzah balls are the perfect mix of dense core and fluffy exterior.
For those of you unfamiliar with matzah balls, they are soup dumplings made out of matzah meal, eggs, water, and a fat, such as oil, margarine, or schmaltz. They are delicious and look like this:
Every attempt to find a good chicken soup at the local grocery store has ended in disappointment. All of the offerings either have added cream, corn, or unnecessary preservatives. After weeks of searching for a corn/cream free soup with no luck, I knew it was time to dust off the stock pot. Since it is incredibly impractical to move countries with a big stock pot, this is purely figurative and I’d like to thank my friend who saved the day by lending me her gran’s pot!
I couldn’t find any matzah meal to attempt homemade matzah balls, but after a bit of prep and three and a half hours of simmering, I did manage to cook up enough soup to last me through the worst of this dreary weather.
If you’re a chicken soup purist like me, check out my recipe below!
Simple Chicken Soup Recipe
- 1 Whole chicken
- 2 White onions cut into halves
- 3 Carrots cut into 8cm/3 inch sections
- 1 Parsnip cut into 8cm/3 inch sections
- 2 Celery Stalks cut into 8cm/3 inch sections
- 1 Bunch Dill bind with string
- 1 Bunch Parsley bind with string
- Kosher/Coarse salt and pepper to taste
- Precooked bow tie pasta or couscous (Optional)
- Wash chicken, place in stock pot and cover with cold water. Simmer for 25 min.
- Dump water and wash excess fat off the chicken and pot
- Return chicken to pot, adding onions, carrots, parsnip, celery, dill, parsley, salt and pepper. Add cold water until everything is covered.
- Cover pot and let simmer for 3.5 hours.
- Remove carrots and parsnip and set aside in a bowl.
- Pour broth through a strainer for clearer broth or leave soup in the fridge overnight and skim off the fat the next day (optional)
- Place the desired amount of veggies and chicken back into the broth and enjoy.
For more of a chicken noodle vibe, add pre-cooked pasta or couscous.
Add salt to taste and garnish with dill.
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