Chicken Soup is absolutely the food of the Gods! There isn’t anything that my kids loved more on a cold fall or winter eve for dinner. I know that some people make this soup using used bones or leftover chicken but I’m a firm believer that this soup warrants a whole raw chicken! Nothing wards off cold or flu symptoms like this soup, and even if you’re already sick, nothing can make you feel better than a good home made bowl of chicken soup.
Place a whole raw chicken in your biggest soup pot, throw in a whole onion, (I’ve heard is said that if you leave the golden peel then it will give the soup color, I’m not sure but what the heck), add a couple of whole garlic cloves, 2 or 3 whole peeled carrots, 2 or 3 celery stalks, a bay leaf, and sometimes I’ll throw in a lemon wedge.
Cook the whole mixture on med until the chicken is falling apart kind of done. Take out all the meat and vegetables. I let the chicken cool for a bit and turn off the stove at this point. Also, some may prefer the stock strained but I generally don’t worry about it too much. Throw away the garlic and onions and the fat and bones of the chicken.
My mother hated cooked carrots as a child, who knew anyone’s mother actually hated a vegetable? So her mother used to chop up the carrots into very small pieces so my mother couldn’t pick them out, and the tradition has stuck in my house. So chop the cooked carrots and cooked celery into small pieces and return to the stock. Chop or shred the chicken and put it back into the soup.
Now here is where it gets interesting. You can always put noodles into your soup. I was raised on these soft little dumplings that are very much like the Jewish matza balls or kreplach, in fact my Jewish partner’s family was over and when I served them the soup they thought my dumplings were really good matza balls!? At any rate they are really good and so simple to make if you just make sure you always have some wheatlet hearts on hand. These wheatlet hearts are found in the hot cereal section of your grocery store and are also used to make porridge, at least that how my mom made it when I was growing up.
For a big pot of soup, crack open 2 eggs into a mug, (large ones) and I add about ¾ cups of wheatlets and stir, (add a pinch of salt) at this point I turn the soup back on because you want to cook these babies in the hot soup. Wait until the soup comes to a boil. By then the dumpling mixture should be quite a bit stiffer and then take your spoon, sink it into the soup, and use it (hot and wet) to scrape a dumpling out of the mug. Do this until you’ve used up all the egg and wheatlet mixture and let cook for a little bit.
It’s important to let the mixture sit for a bit (about 5 minutes) before you make and cook the dumplings they will have a much softer and lighter texture about them. They will not overcook if you cook them a few times to rewarm the soup. That’s probably one of the reasons I love them so much. They are so much easier than noodles that will become mushy after sitting in the liquid.