How to make the perfect chicken soup

Here's how to make a Jewish classic perfect for Shabbat, Pesach, Rosh Hashanah or just when you need a bit of Jewish penicillin

  • place PRE Days!
  • place COOK 2 hrs
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If chicken soup is on your menu, start it on Wednesday or Thursday.

Regular chicken soup makers may already have a preferred recipe. Recipes won’t vary much, give or take a parsnip or leek, type of chicken or cooking time.

Mine comes from years of tweaking.


Put the chicken in the largest lidded pan you own. 

Add the rest of the ingredients and enough water to just cover them. 

Bring to a boil over a high heat. Skim off any foam with and discard.

As soon as the water boils, turn the heat down to a very low simmer. Partially cover the pan and leave to cook gently for 1 – 1½ hours, until the meat is falling off the bones. 

Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pot and put aside.

Pour the broth through a sieve into another pot. Discard the herbs and peppercorns. 

Taste it and if the flavour is good then season with salt. If it is watery, return the bones and cartilage to the pot and simmer for another hour before straining out. 

Separate the chicken  from the bones and tear into pieces. Slice the carrots into 2cm thick discs, cool and refrigerate until serving.

Discard the other veg. 

When you have finished simmering, cool the broth and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, skim off the fat from the surface.

Discard or keep for roast potatoes or matzah balls. 

Taste and season with salt. If it needs more flavour, rapid boil for about 10 to 15 mins to reduce water content. When you are happy with the flavour, serve it with the reserved chicken and vegetables and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.


1.4 - 1.6kg whole roasting chicken plus carcasses/bones

2 medium onions, halved through the root

3 sticks of celery, washed and halved across 

3 large carrot, peeled and halved across the middle

1 parsnip, peeled and halved across the middle
a handful of parsley stalks (keep the leaves for garnish)

10 peppercorns

1 bay leaf

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