The first course when we celebrate a holiday. Healing when we are sick, Comfort when our spirits are weary.
Chicken Soup is one of the most emotionally evocative foods that exist in our culture.
When you make it, you are creating love and memories. There are almost as many recipes as there are cooks, each one of them a family treasure. It is with a spirit of humility that I offer my own. It is an unusual recipe, born of my French traditions, and I doubt that you will have seen anything like it before. However, everyone with whom I have shared this has been enchanted. I strongly encourage you to prepare it as written, because any alterations will have a large effect on the results.
(1) The cheesecloth I ask you to use is readily available at the supermarket. It is a White Cotton gauzelike material.
(2) Your soup will be as good as the Wine you use. Do not try to make good Soup from bad Wine.
1 large frying Chicken, about 5 pounds
2 bottles Dry White Wine
2 quarts Water
6 ribs Celery, cut in 2 inch lengths
3 Onions, quartered
4 large Carrots, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 bunch Parsley
4 Bay Leaves
8 sprigs fresh Thyme
6 sprigs fresh Sage
Salt and Pepper to taste
Additional Celery, Carrots, and Onions: if you will not be serving this as a clear Stock.
Place the Chicken in a large roasting pan and put it in the oven at 350 degrees.
After 20 minutes pour the Wine over it.
Roast for about 2 hours, basting every 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Lift the Chicken onto a platter and set aside.
Pour the liquid from the roasting pan into a large Soup pot.
Add the Water.
Do not get nervous about all this liquor; by the time the soup is finished, the alcohol will be cooked away. When I make this, I use all Wine and no Water. I have adjusted the quantity for nervous readers, but do not lessen it.
For the next step, you are going to tie some ingredients in a double layer of cheesecloth, and put the bundles into the soup pot.
One bundle will hold the Onions, Celery, Parsley, Carrots, Bay Leaves, Thyme, and Sage.
For the other bundle, remove the meat and skin from the roasted Chicken, and place the bones in the cheesecloth.
Put the leftover Roast Chicken in the refrigerator until needed.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Cover the pot, and place it in the oven.
If the thought of making Soup in the oven drives you crazy, then you may simmer it on top of the stove, though that is not the best method. This needs to simmer for 2 ½ hours. Simmer means keeping the temperature just below a boil.
At the end of that time, remove and discard the 2 bundles.
Line a strainer with 2 layers of cheesecloth, and pour the Soup through it into another container.
Wash the Soup pot.
At this point, you will make a decision about what to do with your Soup.
If you want it to contain Vegetables and Chicken, add cut pieces of Celery, Carrot, Onion, and the roasted Chicken: then simmer for another 30 minutes until done.
If you want to use it for Noodles, Kreplach, or Matzoh Balls, make those and add them. Whatever you do with the finished product, enjoy being part of a long line of people making happiness and comfort.
Special Note: See my Kreplach recipe
. The dough from it can also be rolled thin and cut for Luckshen (Noodles).