Thursday, January 12, 2006

Parshat Vayechi - 14 Tevet - January 14 & 15

We seem to be in a January thaw, so no chulent this week, but the warm weather won't stop me from making chicken soup. I'm "known" for a great chicken soup, but until this past November, when I bought a great pot at Ikea (11 quarts, giant strainer inside) - I'd never been very specific about my recipe, but now.....

I set up my soup on Thursday night, and leave the pot in the refridgerator overnight, adding the water Friday morning. The added advante to setting up the soup Thursday night is that it ensures that I have to clear all the leftovers and wipe up the refridgerator a little on Thursday night, heading me into shabbat knowing what's around. Other than forcing me to straighten up, and saving me from having to mess with chicken and onions early in the morning, there's no benefit to prepping the soup in advance.

This time of year, the soup goes up at about 6:40 on Friday morning (right after my older son gets on the bus to school) and cooks the whole day. Yes, I leave the stove on all day.

Into the pot (in this order)

3 to 4 pounds chicken (could be a whole chicken, or cut up, or just leg quarters)
1/2 pound pupiks or necks (not just more chicken, they really add flavor)
1 pound carrots, peeled and chunked
3 parsnips, peeled and chunked
2 stalks celery, in 2" pieces
2 leeks, dark green cut away, sliced down the center almost to the base and well washed
2 onions, peeled, left whole
1/2 bunch dill
1/2 bunch parsley
1 tablespoon salt

Add water to the top (if you're using a strainer pot, pay attention to where the top of the pot is). Bring to boil over high heat and immediately lower to slow simmer. For a few minutes, skim off the foam that rises to the top. Do not cover.

Right before shabbat, lift strainer out (or carefully strain soup), leave soup on blech. Add back whatever veggies or pieces of chicken you like.

Please note: no place in this recipe does it say stir, so don't. If you follow these instructions and DO NOT STIR, you will get clear, beautiful golden soup.

Right before serving, pour a cup of hot water from your hot pot over the noodles. And if your soup bowls are not too fragile, put them on top of some warm surface (oven top, blech) to warm them.

After shabbat, any leftover soup goes in quart containers into the freezer. When we have no extra people for Friday night dinner, I can pop a quart right out of the freezer on Friday afternoon, and melt/heat it before shabbat in less than 1/2 an hour. And if anyone is sick, there's always soup..... Personally, I love the boiled chicken, but that's me.

Betayavon - Shabbat Shalom

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