On a rainy, grey, dark, cold day like today, only ONE food is Comfort food in my opinion.
No, it does not have melted cheese, it does not have cream or butter, it is not fried, and it is not full of carbs.
It is the oldest, most widely known comfort food – Chicken Soup!
Maybe I find eternal comfort in chicken soup because it always reminds my of ‘home’. It immediately takes me back to my parents kitchen, to my grandmother’s kitchen and probably to almost every holiday dinner I have enjoyed. It reminds me of family, love, friendships and health. Yes, health. who doesn’t know that the BEST medicine for the flu, any cold, depression, sadness, fever etc. is chicken soup. Not store-bought, not one with sodium over-load and no flavor, but the real thing.
The best thing about chicken soup is that it is easy to make and delicious to eat.
There are 2 types of chicken soup makers…. those who make the soup and just before serving, take out all the vegetables to serve clear soup and those, like me, that think that the more vegetables the better. I never understood the clear soup thing. I love the taste of vegetables cooked together with a pinch of salt.
My Chicken Soup:
I usually boil a pot of water with chicken (drum sticks or breast – NO skin) for about an hour.
After 30 minutes, I like to place a bunch of cilantro on top of the water and place the lid over so they just cook for the flavor, but I can take them out before serving.
This is my broth. I do not use chicken broth or powders to add flavors- no need!
While the chicken is cooking, I cut as many vegetables as possible:
5 carrots – I cut medium thin rounds
6 celery – medium thick cuts
2 leeks – just the white part – thinly sliced rounds
3 green zucchini- cut in half, length wise, and then medium thick slices
2-3 cups of pumpkin – cut into squares
I love love love sun-chokes, and add 4-5 in soup, cut them in halves
In our house we are not big fans of potatoes or beans in chicken soup, but you can add them as well.
I add the vegetables to the boiling chicken and boil for another 20-25 minutes. I add salt as needed.
Lastly, to make everyone happy, today I made Kneidalach (Matzo Balls). A VERY Jewish tradition. What can I say…… it just makes it even better.
Kneidalah – NEVER but really, NEVER use the mix. It does not taste good. It is too easy to make them yourself to justify using a mix.
3 cups matso flour (matzo meal)
Salt and pepper
about 2 cups boiling water – might need less or more.
Pour the Matzo meal/flour into a bowl, add 2 eggs, salt and pepper. Add 1.5 cups boiling water and mix with a spoon. Add water as needed until you get a well combined mix that is easy to roll into bowls. Set aside.
Take a wide pot and fill with water, add salt and 3 tbsp. oil. I like to add 2 cups of the chicken soup (no veggies).
Bring to a boil. Make small to medium balls out of the Matzo mix with the palm of your hands, and put in the boiling water. They are ready when they float to the top.
On a day like this, this is what we have for dinner. Delicious, healthy and a real family comfort.