Saturday, 27 May 2017

Jewish penicillin - Jiddishe Mama's chicken soup with noodles and matzo balls (kosher, gluten-free)


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Every Jewish mother has their own version of this chicken and noodle soup - the cure-all-ailments-wonder.

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As the long-awaited spring sun finally graced Scandinavia with its rays, we honestly thought the worst was behind us. Temperatures, soaring higher and higher each day lulled us into thinking we'd survived the most critical period without any casualties.

Summer was on its way and with it our happiness could continue as one endless stream of care-free summer days and picnics. 

Oh, how wrong we were.

Only a couple of days after our return from the Champagne cruise the dark clouds started to gather in the horizon. First my throat started acting out, though luckily proving to be a false alarm. But then... then all Hell broke loose. The worst possible scenario came true. My eyes are welling up even as I'm trying to write this. 

Man flu. 

The most fatal of diseases got the best of Gothenburger, a professional soldier; my mean, lean killing machine. Ruthlessly the contraction stripped him bare of his highly honed survival strategies, regressing him to a 3-year-old toddler. 

"Hurts. Feels bad. I think I'm dying."

We were facing a battle not many survive. Fortunately one of us was up for it and knew exactly which guns to bring out. The big ones. A.k.a. Jiddishe Mama's Jewish chicken soup.


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This is a soup every Jiddishe Mama and Bubbe (that's Jewish mamas and grandmothers everywhere) has in their recipe arsenal. Also known as Jewish penicillin, generations and generations have come to know its prowess. This soup is proven to cure any ailments life throws one's way, from heartache to flu.

An article published in an American medical journal shows the soup's miraculous healing properties are not entirely without scientific foundation: something in the chicken soup controls the white cells and helps the body fight the infection.

(Can any teenager think of anything more depressing? That even science shows how mothers really know best?)

Perhaps it's the nutrients in the soup? Perhaps it's the warmth that helps alleviate congestion? The hydrating qualities?

Or perhaps it's the key ingredient of any cooking: love?



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The Jewish chicken soup is rather well known outside Jewish kitchens as well and I have a feeling many of you, too, will have at least heard of the most exotic element: the matzo balls?

While matzo meal (or the sheets you can grind into meal yourself) might be difficult to come by (sold at least in kosher delis) you can substitute them with water crackers.

(The soup is good and comforting even without the matzo balls and helps its stay gluten-free, too.)

You can also omit the noodles - in that case just use more root veggies. 

Instead of noodles/ spaghetti you can use any kind of pasta you want - the toddler within each patient tends to find teddy bear-shaped pasta particularly healing...


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Serves 4-6


Jiddishe Mama's chicken soup - Jewish chicken soup with noodles and matzo balls:


1 whole 2 kg chicken)
about 2,5 l water

2 large carrots (or 3-4 smaller ones)
2 large onions (or 3 smaller ones)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp whole black peppers
3 large garlic cloves (or 4-5 smaller ones)
3 bay leaves
the stalks of a parsley bunch
the stalks of a dill bunch

1 large carrots (or 2 smaller ones)
1/2 of a large leek (or 1 smaller one)
75 g spaghetti or noodles (gluten-free if needed)
remaining herbs

Pat the chicken dry and place in the largets pot you've got. Pour enough water into the pot to cover the chicken by about 10 cm. Bring to simmer.

Roughly chop the carrots and onions. Bruise the garlic with the back of the knife.

Cook the chicken for half an hour, skimming the foam and fat that forms on the top (save 3 tbsp of chicken fat, schmaltz, for the matzo balls).

Once the foam stops forming, add rest of the ingredients into the pot and simmer for further 1,5 hrs.

Transfer the chicken out of the pot and drain the stock through a mesh sieve. Check the taste and season with salt and pepper or chicken stock cube as needed. Prepare the matzo ball mixture at this point. 

To maximize the clarity of the soup, you can cool the stock and then skim the fat layer gathering on the top while the chicken cools. 

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, strip the skin and remove the meat from the bones. Shred the meat, cut the leek and carrots to match sticks and break the pasta into similar length pieces.

Return the stock into the pot and bring to simmer. Add matzo balls and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Then add pasta/ noodles and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Then add veggies and after another 5 minutes the chicken. Once the chicken's heated through, stir in the remaining herbs. In case too much stock has evaporated during cooking, replenish it with some chicken stock.


Matzo balls (depending on the size makes 20-25 balls):


3 eggs
3 tbsp chicken fat (or vegetable oil)
85 g matzo meal (or finely ground water crackers; gluten-free if needed)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tl onion powder
1/2 tbsp finely chopped dill
1/2 tsp finely rated lemon zest

Blizz the matzo sheets or water crackers in a food processor until fine. Combine with rest of the dry ingredients. 

Lightly beat the eggs and add the fat.

Combine the dry and wet ingredients and stir quickly. Cover and chill for half an hour (this helps shaping the balls).

Roll into small balls of about 2 cm (they double in size when cooked).

Cook in the soup as instructed above.



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Another highly potent flu-repeller is also one of my all-time favourite recipes on the blog: my mango, chilli and ginger chicken

Are you guys familiar with Jewish chicken soup? Or do you have another trusty go-to-recipe when you're feeling under the weather?

___________________


ANYONE FOR SECONDS?


Andalusian auringossa_ruokablogi_valimerellinen paprikainen kanakeitto:gluteeniton_kosher_vegaani       


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