My mother in law’s chicken soup

There’s a reason that bestseller self-help book was called Chicken Soup for the Soul. There’s something special about it that’s so health restoring, nourishing and comforting. After a week on the booze, mixed grill and cream cakes, The Man and I just practically inhaled a pot of chicken soup made to his mum’s recipe.

This kind of European clear chicken soup with fine noodles and/ or knedle (little dumplings) is not something I ate growing up. We ate a lot of soup, but it was but more of the rib-sticking minestrone or Scotch broth type.

My Serbian M-i-L taught me her recipe and, since we’ve been here in Belgrade it’s been on high rotation in my kitchen. I made an especially good batch with the plucked chicken we were sent home with from The Man’s farming family. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall is right – happy freerange chooks taste better!

My M-i-L, rather controversially, adds a small piece of mild chilli to give it a bit of a kick, and so I do too. I depart from her instructions though, because I prefer to chop the chicken and add it to the soup, rather than more traditionally serving it with the potatoes and carrots as a second course. Obviously, I can’t kick the Crawford thick soup gene.

I’m very proud of this new fave so here’s a pic from the most recent pot –


European style clear chicken soup

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2 Responses to My mother in law’s chicken soup

  1. Katie says:

    You going to share that recipe or what?

  2. OK, this is how I was told –
    First, kill your chicken… No, just jokes 🙂

    The following quantities are just a guide.

    Take a large pot. In it put about 1kg chicken. My M-i-L uses chicken breast plus some wings, I use chicken breast on the bone because that’s what the butcher sells. You could probably use just stock bones. You decide but take the skin off or it will be fatty.

    Add 4 large carrots, scraped and chopped in half, 3 celery stalks, 2 halved onions, 2 or 3 parsnips, a halved tomato, 4 peeled & halved potatoes, 3 garlic cloves, 4 bay leaves, a small bunch of parsley including stalks and a piece of chilli (optional).
    Fill with water.
    Note – I don’t add salt or pepper at this stage.

    Bring to the boil and skim any foam off the surface.

    Reduce the heat to very low and simmer for 1-1.5 hrs.

    Remove the carrots, potato and chicken. Set aside.
    Remove the remaining veges.
    Bring the soup back to the boil, add salt to taste and add 2 small handfuls of fine noodles. Resist the Crawford urge to make this a thick soup!

    To serve: the idea is that the soup forms the first course and the vegetables and meat the second. A meal in a pot! So, when the noodles are cooked you can either chop the chicken meat and add it to the soup along with fresh chopped parsley and serve out, including the potatoes and carrot as you go.

    Or you can take the more trad approach of my m-i-L and leave the chicken whole and serve the soup clear with only chopped parsley added and then serve the chicken, carrots and potatoes later as a second course. Your choice.

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