This isn't any old chicken soup. This is Eastern European chicken soup, also known as 'Jewish Penicillin' because of its secret healing qualities. This soup reaches your soul. It will make you feel better whether you have the flu or a broken heart, or just need warming up on a cold day.
It is the nectar of all soups.
This thin, clear stock is full of nutritious vegetables and protein and, when served in the traditional style, with egg vermicelli (lockshen) and dumplings (matzo balls) it's a meal in itself.
This is my version-I've Slice-of-Slimmified the more traditional recipes which can take a while to make and can be quite oily, plus I've added less traditional and more accessible ingredients such as soy sauce to season my soup and give it its beautiful bronze colour.
Although you can eat it straight away, this soup is always best the day after you have made it.
I'm also going to show you how easy this recipe is to convert into a vegetarian, Filling & Healthy or Simple Start version.
It works out to 5pp/approx.230kcal per bowl including the vermicelli & dumplings.
YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 4)
For the soup;
1 litre cold water
200g skinless chicken breasts
4 Quorn Chicken style fillets
2 low salt chicken/vegetable stock cubes
1 tablespoon low salt soy sauce
3 onions (I prefer red for colour)
3 cloves unpeeled garlic
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
You could add leeks & celery if you wish
4 egg vermicelli nests (20g each)
For the dumplings;
3 slices WeightWatchers Danish white bread
1 medium egg
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
Filling & Healthy/Simple Start Swaps;
Substitute the vermicelli for wholewheat pasta/spaghetti
Substitute the white bread for the dumplings for WeightWatchers brown bread slices.
Start by making the dumplings as the mixture needs to sit for a while. Pop the bread into a food processor and make into fine breadcrumbs.
Place the breadcrumbs into a bowl and add the egg and seasoning.
Mix well using a fork until all the breadcrumbs are incorporated into the egg. It will be a thick, dryish mixture. Set to one side while you make the soup.
Slice the carrots, quarter the onions and make a cut in the garlic cloves before adding to the pan. Add all the remaining soup ingredients apart from the vermicelli. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 30-40 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve the soup, bring a pan of water to a rolling boil. Wet your hands and make 12 marble-sized dumplings out of the breadcrumb mixture. Drop straight into the hot water.
Boil rapidly in the pan. You will find that the dumplings puff up to about 3 or 4 times their original size. This is why it's important to cook them in water or they will absorb all your lovely soup if you cook them in the stock!
The dumplings float on the surface of the water, so I use the same pan to cook the vermicelli to save on washing up! The vermicelli only takes around 5 minutes to cook so do this right before you serve the soup.
Once the dumplings have puffed up, you can add them to the soup to absorb some of the delicious flavours while you drain the vermicelli and organise your serving bowls.
To serve, weigh the drained vermicelli and divide into 4 equal portions. Place in the bottom of each serving bowl.
Ladle the beautiful stock over the vermicelli.
Slice the chicken/Quorn fillets and divide equally between all 4 portions.
Finally, select a few tender carrot slices, a selection of vegetables and 3 dumplings per portion.
This is a lovely stock to make to use in your homemade gravies or sauces.
You can puree the remaining vegetables to make a thick vegetable soup for another day. (Remember to remove the unpeeled garlic before blending). You may also need to add a little more water and flavouring to give it a boost.