This time of year I love making soups. My favorite food is homemade chicken soup. It’s a treat when my dad spends the day in the kitchen cooking a huge pot of soup for the whole family to enjoy. The house smells savory and we all can’t help “testing” the soup. My father is an immigrant from Hungary and his mother taught him this recipe before he left the country.
Ingredients (preferable organic):
- 1 roasting chicken
- 2 large carrots
- 2 large onions
- 2 parsnips
- 2 celery stalks
- A few sprigs of parsley
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp. peppercorns
- 2 qts. chicken stock (I use 2 tbsp. “Better than Bouillon” mixed with warm water)
- Salt and Pepper
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
Clean out the chicken. Peel the carrots, onions, parsnips, celery and garlic. Cut the onions into halves. If using Better than Bouillon or bouillon cubes, warm 2 quarts of water to mix the concentrated bouillon with.
In a large soup pot, insert chicken and add the 2 quarts of chicken stock or until the chicken is covered in the pot. Place the vegetables and peppercorns into the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer, covered, for an hour and a half to two hours. In the mean time, boil the noodles in salted water and set aside.
After the chicken has cooked, carefully remove the chicken from the soup and let the drippings fall back into the pot as much as possible. Place on a plate. Remove the carrots and parsnips and place on plate with chicken. Discard the onion, celery, parsley and garlic.
Take some cheese cloth or a very fine strainer and pour the soup through into another pot (you will probably need an extra hand with this part). This will remove the extra bits and pieces and will make a smooth, clear broth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
At this point, you can serve this soup however you like. You can carve the chicken and cut into chunks to insert back into the soup along with the carrots, noodles and some extra celery for a more chunky soup or you can serve the chicken on the side and just put the noodles in the soup. In proper Hungarian tradition, the chicken, carrots and parsnips are served on the side with a little salt and pepper. Red pepper flakes are added to the broth for an extra kick. This is my favorite way to eat this meal. I could eat bowls and bowls in one sitting.