Classic Jewish Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is a Jewish favorite all over the world. Among East European Jews it had a ritual significance because it was served to a bride and groom to break their wedding-day fast. Jewish chicken soup has become symbolic of Jewish cooking. Amazingly, scientists have discovered that chicken soup really does help cure a cold, so it's not just an old wives' tale!

Try to use larger, older fowls, since they have more flavor. Add the gizzard, neck, and heart to the soup whenever possible. Some Jewish cooks also add the feet (Romanian Jews consider the feet a delicacy!), which are believed to add flavor; just remove them before serving the soup.

With modern poultry rearing, it is rare to find unhatched eggs inside a chicken, but if you do, they make a delicious addition to the soup. For kashrut purposes, unhatched eggs are considered meat, not pareve as are hatched eggs, so they must be koshered in the same way as meat.

If the chicken in this recipe is to be eaten separately, you may find it tastier if you brown it first in a little chicken fat.


serves 6 to 8
1 large chicken, about 3 pounds, with giblets
1 large onion, stuck with 2 cloves
2 carrots, sliced
1 bunch (about 8 ounces) fresh parsley
2 large white turnips, quartered
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper


1. Scald the chicken by pouring boiling water over it inside and out. Put the chicken into a stew pot or Dutch oven. Add water to cover and place pot over high heat. Bring the water to a boil, skimming off the foam as it accumulates. When the water boils, reduce the heat and add the vegetables. Cover the pot and simmer for 3 hours over very low heat.

2. Remove the chicken from the pot and serve it separately or cut it into serving pieces and add it to soup just before serving.

3. Strain the soup, discarding the vegetables. Wipe the surface with a paper towel to soak up excess fat. Or, better still, cool the soup, refrigerate it, and remove the fat which will have solidified on top; then reheat soup.

4. Taste soup, and add the seasonings before serving.

What did you think?

23 people have helped to review this recipe. Thankyou!

I tried to cook a chicken carcass once
posted by Carol @ 04:07PM, 5/25/09
But I couldn't bring myself to use the resulting fatty liquid, it looked awful. I am about to use the meat and the jelly from a roast in a lidded tin and add the rest of the ingredients apart from parsnips, I don't think I have those. I am not well and need Jewish chicken soup!
Oh and I forgot to say
posted by Carol @ 04:10PM, 5/25/09
I am going to cook mine in the pressure cooker, I made sure not to get too much of the fat with the jelly, and I have parsley growing.
Have seen the recipe with swede instead of parsnip now - don't have any either, and with only carrots, no other veg - doesn't sound tasty like that!
If you don't have parsnips...
posted by Paula @ 03:21AM, 4/22/10
Any similar root vegetable will do. I make my chicken soup using carrots, onion, garlic, fresh dillweed, parsley, and celery stalks. Parsnips are optional, but they do add a lovely flavor. I've never heard of using cloves, I'd skip that entirely, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Best chicken soup ever!!
posted by Robert C. @ 02:32PM, 10/11/10
I'm not Jewish - but here's a better recipe of my own for all, regardless of religion ;)
One whole chicken in a large saucepan. Add about 5 x garlic cloves, a couple of bay leaves, about 8 black peppercorns, some ground black pepper, ground rock salt and some (preferably hot) paprika. Add lots of sliced carrots and leeks, a couple of chicken stock cubes and a dash or two of dark soy sauce. Cover the chicken with water about 2 inches above the carcass and simmer for about 90 mins.
Serve soup on top of plain boiled Basmati rice, with some chopped spring onions and a teaspoon of Chinese chilli oil. :) xxx
Excellent Chicken Soup
posted by William Jenkins "Australia" @ 11:31PM, 6/02/11
I have for the first time made a chicken soup using the above recipe very good my wife thinks it's great
Surely you should discard the chicken afterwards?
posted by Alex @ 12:22PM, 6/21/11
"2. Remove the chicken from the pot and serve it separately or cut it into serving pieces and add it to soup just before serving."

I only use the carcass, and I think that to use a whole chicken would be a total waste. However, given that after three hours of simmering the chicken would have broken up and would be a soggy mess, and anyway it would be tastless as the flavour would all have left to enter the soup, why would you want to serve it?
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