Chicken Soup

Author: Noah Bernamoff

It’s my earliest cooking memory: standing on a stool next to my grandmother as she presided over a pot of chicken soup on the stove. Nana would talk me through it: a little salt, a little pepper, turn down the heat, stir, simmer. I went through a long phase as a kid of eating only chicken soup and Cheerios. Chicken soup was as vital to me as water and air. Sure, there was brisket on some Fridays, or knishes and cauliflower pie on others, but there was always chicken soup. My nana would always have a supply in her freezer, enough to feed the Canadian army. There was always a piece of carrot in her soup, and a large stalk of celery, and some onions. It was simple and pure. It was my first love.  – NB


3 Small chickens (about 2 ½ pounds each), each cut into 8 pieces
10 black peppercorns
2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 medium parsnips, peeled, 2 left whole and cut into 2-to-3 inch batons
4 medium carrots, peeled, 2 left whole and cut into 2-to-3 inch batons
4 stalks of celery, trimmed, 2 left whole and cut into 2-to-3 inch batons
3 large inions, peeled, 2 cut in half and 1 coarsely chopped
3 sprigs of dill
3 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
3 sprigs of thyme
2 fresh bay leaves
Matzo Balls
Cooked Egg Noodles
Soup Mandel for garnish

Place the chicken pieces in a large stockpot along with the peppercorns, salt, and enough water to cover the ingredients by about 2 inches. Heat the pot over medium heat until the contents of the pot start to simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a low simmer and continue cooking, uncovered, for about 1 ½ hours., occasionally skimming off any foam and fat that rise to the top.
Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the breast and thigh sections and reserve hem for the soup (or another use, like chicken salad), leaving the drumsticks and wings in the pot. Add the 2 whole parsnips, 2 whole carrots, 2 whole celery stalks and 2 halved onions to the pot and continue to simmer for another 1 ½ hours, stirring and skimming occasionally.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the dill, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. Allow the herbs to steep for 30 minutes. Then strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the solids.
Return the strained soup and bring it to a low simmer. Add the parsnip, carrot, and celery batons; chopped onions; and matzo balls. Simmer for another 15 minutes, then add the kreplach, along with some of the reserved breast and thigh meat, if you like. Simmer for 5 more minutes and season to taste. Place the egg noodles in bowls, ladle the soup over them, and serve with soup made.

Serves 6-8 as an entrée

* Adapted from the The Mile End Cookbook and republished with permission from Noah Bernamoff.