Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Jewish Penicillin

With the leaves falling, and the days gone short, you'd think it would also be time for bundling up tight in warm jackets and scarves. This year, not so much. We've gone from frigid days in the forties (okay, Northerners, that's pretty cold to us!), straight into warm, blustery days close to the mid-seventies. And then back again.

The unusual weather seems to have finally caught up with DucCat last week, and he spent our entire holiday vacation fighting a losing battle against a monstrous cold/sinus infection. As we couldn't get him to the doctor until Monday, it was time to pull out the big guns: chicken soup with matzo balls.

This recipe is another culled from the treasured "James River Kitchen Cook Book", by DucCat's Mom. This simple chicken soup was given to her by her great grandmother, who brought it to the U.S. from Poland. We've tweaked and coddled the basic recipe just a bit, and have been quite pleased with the results. And while it wasn't quite able to clear up the infection, its comforting warmth and rich flavour went a long way in helping my love make it through the long weekend.

Mom's Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls
For the stock:
1 container More Than Gourmet Jus de Poulet Lié Gold (Classic Roasted Chicken Demi-Glace, makes about 1 cup)
1/2 container Glace de Canard Gold (Classic Roasted Duck Stock, makes about 2 cups)
1 pound chicken parts (backs, necks, feet, etc)
1 stewing chicken, 3.5-4 pounds
1 onion, peeled and halved
3 stalks celery, trimmed and halved
3 carrots, peeld and halved
salt and pepper, to taste
Note: Yes, I use More Than Gourmet stocks with reckless abandon. I'm sure I could spend hours simmering and skimming my way to a freezer full of my own broths and stocks- but I don't. Not to sound like a jingle, but the ease and convenience of their products, combined with their rich, deep flavours, really makes it too easy not to use. So there.

Additions to the stock:
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, trimmed and sliced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped

Matzo balls:
2 Tablespoons chicken fat or oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup matzo meal
dash of salt
2 Tablespoons soup stock
(of course, you could do as I do, and just use Manischewitz matzo ball mix! I add chopped parsley to the mixture, and always separate the eggs. The whites are beaten until stiff, then folded gently in at the last.)

Place all ingredients in a large stew pot; fill with additional water to cover, as necessary.
Cover and simmer until chicken is about to fall off the bone, about an hour and a half. Remove chicken, and chunk the meat; reserve.
Strain and skim the stock, and discard the chicken parts and used vegetables. Heat stock until reaching a lively simmer.

About 20 minutes before ready to serve, add the chopped onion and raw matzoh balls to the simmering stock; cover. They'll puff up, and turn into fat little floating balls of goodness.
When 10 minutes have passed, add the celery and carrots.
In five minutes, add the chunked chicken, and make sure everything is warmed through.

DucCat likes this just as is, but I prefer sprinkling my cup with freshly chopped dill.


Blogger Anna said...

Hey, that looks good. I don't know if I told you, but I've been making stock by putting bones and stuff in the crockpot, covering it with water and letting it cook for hours and hours. You have to cool it and skim the fat of course because there's scum, but it's a really easy way to get good stock.

November 30, 2005 4:30 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

We all knew this, but scientists have studied the effects of chicken soup and pronounce it effective for a cold.

Use a whole chicken, a la Julia Child's classic recipe.

The French make a special chicken soup pot, of course!

Save a bowl for me.

December 03, 2005 11:57 PM  

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