My mom got it. My sister got it…in fact they still have it. My nephew got it before them. And it finally got me….sigh. Damn you, rhinovirus! It was inevitable I suppose, though I’d done really great at listening to my body and fighting off the nasties for about the last six months. It truly is amazing what happens when you just listen to it.
Feeling tired? Lay down. No sickness!
Feeling achy? Lay down, like for reals. Take a few ibuprofen if you tend to do that (I do), and go to bed. Early. Wake up, no sickness!
Stuffy nose? Neti pot! That actually deserves a whole post unto itself, but all I’ll say now is it is currently the most useful item in the house that’s not electronic.
But that’s not what I’m talking about today.
If you’re feeling any of these things, really the best thing you can do is get yourself some chicken soup. It will warm you up, it tastes fabulous, the temperature of the broth will help clear out your sinuses, and I’d swear there is something else in there that shortens the duration of whatever strain of yuck found their way into you.
There are a million different recipes online which I’m sure are wonderful, but I really like this one, because it’s mine! Well, an amalgamation of mine and my mother’s….which is probably an amalgamation of hers and her mother’s or her grandmother’s, etc., etc., etc. (Who just saw Yul Brynner in their head? I did! I did!)
So here’s what you need:
1 giant soup pot (8 quarts is good)
1 large onion, chopped into bite-size pieces (not bite-sized for a toddler, for an adult…unless you are sharing with a toddler, then make them smaller)
1 handful of carrots, chopped into edible rounds, about half an inch thick
3-4 stalks of celery, chopped into bite-size pieces (again adults, not toddlers)
1 8-piece cut up chicken, kosher, organic (I try my best to get organic veggies when I can, but when it comes to chicken, I don’t buy anything else – kosher is optional. I use this because I hate touching raw chicken, and the least amount I have to do with it before cooking, the better)
A few sprigs of thyme
A handful of Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 12 oz. package Manischewitz Egg Noodles, medium
1 package Manischewitz Matzo Ball and Soup Mix (You are welcome to make your own matzo balls, but when I’m sick, I don’t have that kinda time, so I accept all and any help from a box – you can also just use chicken bouillon if you don’t want the matzo balls, but then you might be crazy, because they are the best part.)
And here’s what you do:
Throw (gracefully) that chicken in the pot. Sprinkle on a good helping of salt and pepper. Cover chicken with water so there’s about 3-4 inches left at the top of the pot (the chicken should be in a nice bath with no parts left uncovered.) Turn the burners up so the soup can come to a boil, and if you haven’t already, get to washing and chopping those veggies. Throw those in to the pot too and bring all parties to a boil. Cover it – if you don’t you won’t eat soup until next week, as that much water takes a long time to get hot. Don’t stray too far though because you don’t want a mess on your stove.
Open up your soup mix box and pour that packet in there. Set aside the matzo ball mix for a little later. Stir the mix into the heating water (if it’s already boiling, I’d be impressed) and throw the herbs in there. I know people say don’t add them until the end but I’m a rebel.
Now it’s time to make the matzo balls. While the soup comes to a boil, make them according to package directions (here’s where the egg and oil come in) and put them in the fridge. Be tempted to try it, even though it has raw egg in it (rebel!) Put them in the fridge until it’s time to use them.
Let the soup boil for about 30 minutes. Skim the foam off the top as it comes up. After 30 minutes, simmer for another 30.
Take the chicken out and shred it. I do this on a piece of foil so I can wrap up the carcass and dump it when I’m done. Bring the soup back to a boil.
Now it’s time for the matzo balls. Get the mix out of the fridge, wet your hands and roll them up into about 1.5 inch diameter and drop them in the boiling water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or so. While this is happening you can make the noodles according to the package and set them aside.
I like to keep the noodles separate so they don’t turn to mush. But…I like to throw the chicken back into the soup so it softens up and marinates.
Once the noodles are ready, you can ladle some of those some soup and a few matzo balls into a bowl and scarf it down. Well, you might burn yourself that way, so wait a few minutes and use the steam to clear your nasal passages.
Here’s what it might look like….
So if you are sick, I’m so sorry, but you have to go to the store and make this now. It will make you feel better. (You can also have someone do it for you, that might be the better option…)