Shabbat

There’s No Debating It—Nothing’s Better Than Chicken Soup!

Chicken is arguably the world’s most versatile ingredient. From the finger lickin’ good taste of fried chicken to the savory notes of the classic French Coq Au Vin, chicken has found a home in almost every cuisine, every country, every continent in the world. But for us, the best place in the world for a chicken is in a bowl of chicken soup.

The art of tossing a chicken and a bunch of other ingredients in a pot is nothing new. Back in the feudal villages of Europe, chicken was the perfect ingredient—it was small enough to make a meal without having to worry about leftover meat going bad and versatile enough that any part of the chicken could be used to flavor the soup. Whatever other ingredients were lying around (potatoes, parsnips, celery, carrots, etc.) were perfect garnishes for a pretty much infallible soup.

The original cold medicine

Admit it! In your most desperate, bed ridden, fever pitched hour, what would you rather have: a bowl of chicken soup, or a dime-sized Michelin Star dish of chicken confit? We thought so. Everyone naturally knows that nothing’s better at warming up your insides than some chicken soup. And it’s had centuries to earn the status of the ultimate cure all. Maimonides first mentioned chicken soup’s mystical healing powers in the 12th century, and his claims are still being validated to this very day! Granted, his hypothesis that it could altogether cure leprosy hasn’t quite found a basis in modern medicine, but doctors have been able to prove that it’s effective at clearing up congestion. Thus we relearn a timeless lesson: never openly doubt bubbie’s wisdom.

Simple and tasty

The best part is it’s almost impossible to make bad chicken soup. You just throw a chicken and whatever else you have laying around into a pot, and presto–delicious chicken soup! Seriously, it has to be the only food in existence that’s never been cooked with a recipe, but still turns out amazing. Try doing that with your next seitan experiment!

Cooks take stock in chicken soup

But it’s so much more than a remedy for sniffles. No other food in the world captures the nostalgia we feel when the smell of kitchen soup wafts in from the kitchen. Not even juice boxes. That’s not to say it’s earned its distinguished spot without any culinary merit…far from it; without chicken soup, the wonderfully wide world of cuisine would narrow considerably. Imagine not having chicken soup to flavor a risotto or to use as the base for a Velouté sauce.  Out of all the tricks and recipes in a cook’s repertoire, the ability to whip up a good chicken soup is perhaps the most under appreciated.

Even though chicken soup will never be the next broccoli rabe or squid ink pasta, there’s nothing that quite compares to the majesty and, honestly, the mystery of chicken soup. It has a robust worldwide culinary tradition, but its wholesome goodness is achievable in almost any kitchen. And enjoying chicken soup has become easier than ever. With ingredients like Manischewitz chicken soup, you have instant access to small batch chicken soup.

Now that you’re up to speed on the history of chicken soup, get out there and try it your own way. You could season it with dill, or southwestern spices. Maybe even try making it more of a stew by adding kale and cannellini beans. And if you’re in need of more inspiration, head over to manischewitz.com/recipes.

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Shabbat Shopping List

  • Candles
  • 2 loaves of Challah (or ingredients to make own, such as yeast, sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, salt, flour)
  • Grape juice and/or Wine
  • Gefilte fish
  • Horseradish
  • Salad and salad dressing
  • Ingredients for first course, such as soup mix
  • Ingredients for main course
  • Side dishes
  • Ingredients for dessert
  • Condiments
  • Cooking spray
  • Tea and coffee
  • Flowers for centerpiece