Sunday, 14 November 2010


...or 'rendered chicken fat' which is a key ingredient to perfect knaidlach... are you following so far?

... so, as hard as I found it to pin down a traditional minestrone recipe... try asking your mother for a traditional Jewish chicken soup recipe... it's about the chicken... no, it's about the knaidlach (matzoh balls dumplings)... no, it's about using a whole chicken... no, your grandma made the best chicken soup... no, ask your auntie, she makes it, I don't...

... thanks mum, thats great!

... the facts are these... the chicken really does make all the difference and therefore you should buy the best chicken for the job and this should be a kosher pullet, which, unless you raise your own chickens is pretty unlikely you'll be able to find... so the next best option is a broiler... your butcher will know... but if he doesn't then a whole free-range chicken will work... but keep it small and whole...

... and the other main thing to get the ultimate flavour is to cook it long and slow... this will give you the intense depth of flavour and golden honey colour that you're after... other than this, quite frankly, add what you like... traditionally it would be quite simple... carrot and onion... lots of peppercorns... and some lovely small knaidlach if you fancy... these little balls of light and fluffy matzohmeal are heaven in a bowl and will soak up the taste of the chicken soup and be un-like anything you've tasted before!

... as is always typical with my cooking, I thought I had matzoh-meal in the cupboard but when I went to make the knaidlach I realised I didn't... so there are none in this picture, but the memory and more importantly the recipe is there... and whilst there's absolutely no substitute for a knaidlach and I know my Jewish friends will really laugh at this but I did throw in some brussel sprouts... just for the shape!

naturally i've gone my own way here... but the essence is there and the flavour is intense... infact the smell permeating the cottage is mouth-watering... and in the true Jewish traditional way, you're all invited over for a bowlful... dinner is served!

Belleau Chicken Soup

1 smal whole chicken
1 onion - roughly chopped
1 carrot - roughly chopped
1 medium leek - roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
salt, pepper and herbs

Traditional Knaidlach

2 beaten eggs
2 tablespoons of schmaltz (you can use butter or olive oil as a substitute)
1 cup of medium matzo meal
1 dessertspoon ground almonds
1 cup boiling water
salt and pepper
a dash of cinnamon (this is an extra, which some people may not like, but I love)

- for the soup, simply place everything in a large pan, add water and a couple of sprinkles of good quality vegetable stock such as Marigold Bouillon  and let it slowly bubble for at least 2 hours

- once the soup is nice and golden, remove from heat and take out the chicken and the veg... you can also skim off some of the chicken fat as it floats to the top of the pot, but to be honest, I love this and think it adds to the flavour.

- many people like to serve it as a clear broth with a couple of knaidels floating in it, but I like to tear the chicken meat from the bones and return these with the vegetables and have a heartier soup

- to make the knaidlach, simply mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and shape into small balls... refrigerate them first before you add them to the soup about 10 minutes before you wish to serve them.

... in my opinion this is the best reason to be Jewish...

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. i'll be right over...i'd LOVE a bowl...looks great

    kary and teddy

  2. looks delicious! I have a little free range chicken in my fridge whose destiny has now been decided for tomorrow! thanks!

  3. ... because there can NEVER be too many good chicken soup recipes! Glad to see your inner mensch coming out ... handing on the perfect soup is a beautiful thing, Dom. You're right, soup IS truth.

  4. And I hear I thought Schmaltz was a polite word for when some one was talking rubbish lol. Looks great, best Schmaltz I've come across lol

  5. Looks delish. Whenever I've tried to make matzoh balls they always fall apart in the broth (even after refridgeratibg) - any tips?

  6. Thanks guys... the smell of it cooking has had me salivating for hours...

    schmaltz is a Yiddish word which originally was 'chicken fat' but over the years became common in the English language for anything rich, sweet or sickly (like chicken fat) and therefore is used to describe lots of emotions.... you may hear a girly chick-flick or a film where the heroine dies as 'schmaltzy' because it's so sweet...

    @ salty... maybe your egg/matzo/ground almond ratio is off balance... more egg maybe?

  7. I put parsnip and swede in mine, and sometimes some fennel. Also if you don't like the fat (and don't want a coronary) then leave in the fridge overnight, the fat will harden and can be taken straight off (and reused on roast postatoes!).

  8. Dom - you are gas, substituting knaidlach with brussel sprouts!!

    I'd love a bowl substitution or not!!

  9. I heard that Jewish chicken soup cures what ever ails you. Better put some in the freezer for when your feeling a tad under the weather. Your soup looks delicious. I have to start a new sponge for my sour dough bread. My mother in law became ill and and with all the goings on it was ignored.

  10. I love the brussel sprouts :) Brownievillegirl I take it you didn't intend a pun when you said it was a gas. :D
    What is it about chicken soup that is so comforting when life is wrong or you are feeling unwell. It seems to have some magical property to make things better. Dom yours looks brilliant. I could just do with some of that comfort now x

  11. yum! jewish penicillin!! matzo balls make me soooo happy...shame they turned into sprouts! yum yum my stuffed nose is getting better just looking at this picture! :)

  12. I could so do with some of this right now, TLC in a bowl. x

  13. not to rub it in but I just had a huge bowlful for lunch and it was GOOOOD!

    oh and BVG - they really are not a good substitute for the real thing so i'm off to London today and will pick up some matzomeal and make them proper next week!

  14. oh... a warm log fire....sounds wonderful....i am stuck out here in california in shorts and flip flops.....


    hoping for RAIN !!!!

    enjoy your cozy evening, Dom


  15. Now I know someone who would so love this. I caved in when he was ill last year and bought an organic chicken and simmered it for hours with carrots and onion and stuff - I even had to handle the meat - aghhh. AND then he was too ill to eat it - sometimes Jewish penicillin isn't enough!

  16. Dom this looks delicious. I haven't had a really good chicken soup since living near Golders Green I keep meaning to check out Nigellas one but now I don't need to. This is the real deal- thankyou!

  17. stopping in to see what's on the stove



  18. That looks so comforting and perfect for this time of year. I do love the soup season!

  19. Of course it was unintentional Granny!!!

    Wouldn't mind a bowl with either round thing Dom!!!

  20. Hmm, I can smell your soup across the pond! Is there any left? That may be a menu item for the weekend!


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