In Dire Need of a Bubbie


You’d think with parents who grew up in Winnipeg and so many chefs as friends and all my Jewish connections that when I was sick I’d have a go-to chicken soup recipe.  Not just any chicken soup recipe but a proper Bubbie’s Chicken Soup recipe with many years of simultaneously curing the cough and the soul.

With the right combination of hearty broth and schmaltz, chunks of moist chicken and vegetables, but not too much of anything to be challenging when you are feeling sick and pathetic, a proper Bubbie’s Chicken Soup really is Jewish Penicillin.

So I turn to my vast collection of cookbooks and lovingly hand-written recipes which turn up Chicken, Tortilla Soup, and Chicken, Corn Thick Soup, and Chicken, Tom Yum Soup, even Chicken, Ramadan Soup,  none of them will heal my sniffles.  And boy do I have sniffles.  Even my fellow Foodists don’t have a cure for me  (but do have great recipes for Mushroom Soup, Hot & Soup Soup – Matt Style, Bishops Asparagus Soup, Sinigang Soup and Jackie’s lactose-free soups)

So my friends, can you help a girl out?

I’ve throw a chicken in a pot with carrots, celery and onions.  What next?


11 Responses to “In Dire Need of a Bubbie”

  1. Posted on September 2nd, 2010

    Garlic….. lots and lots of garlic.

  2. Posted on September 2nd, 2010

    Right, adding garlic now! Thanks David.

  3. Posted on September 2nd, 2010

    I like oregano. Also some kind of starch, like noodles or rice. Or matzo balls, if you’re going the bubbie route.

  4. Posted on September 2nd, 2010

    Thanks Ann. I added some homemade egg noodles since I didn’t have any matzah for ball making.

  5. Posted on September 7th, 2010

    hey… your post is excellent for my brain lol

  6. Posted on September 8th, 2010

    Here’s the secret my Bubby taught me. First, boil chicken thighs with some chicken bones for a long time. Then, strain the broth, throw away the bones, wash the chicken thighs of any fat, clean the pot and throw it all back in. Now add fresh dill, carrots, and celery. Boil again. Then make matzoh balls in packaged chicken stock (the saltiness is the best). When done, use homemade broth and add the matzoh balls.

  7. Posted on September 8th, 2010

    Sweed – thanks, I think.

    Leslie – Thanks for the detailed steps! You are the second person to suggest the addition of dill (the other suggested it via twitter), and I’m eager to try it that way. Thanks for the tip about using a salty packaged stock for the matzoh balls too. That’s definitely one of those Secret Tips From The Bubby. Greatly appreciated.

    I also got a number of responses via twitter to this post, including offers of 3 people’s mothers to be my Bubbie/Bubby and the suggestion that no self-respecting Bubbie would use a recipe anyway. So I really appreciate the guidance all around.

  8. Posted on September 11th, 2010

    Funny, I just today watched an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay where Chicken Matzoh Ball Soup was the focus of the battle. (of course Flay lost…again…as always).

    One clever technique that Flay used was to grilled some whole green jalapeños and then let them simmer in the soup for awhile just long enough to give it a subtle flavour profile with some zing. Next time I make chicken soup, I’m going to try that.

  9. Posted on October 8th, 2010

    I´m really sweed and thant isnt excelent Sweed Test you don´t read the article. Cheers

  10. Posted on October 17th, 2010

    garlic in chicken soup??? oregano?
    there is no question that vancouver is a tricky place to find good chicken soup advice, but as it happens, i’m from winnipeg too, and i have a tasty little secret that has stood to impress winnipeggers, torontonians and new yorkers alike!
    it’s not cheap (bubbie never is), but solly’s bagelry, although the bagels may leave something to be desired, sells a chicken soup that rivals that of any bubbie i have had the pleasure to be (force) fed by. if you haven’t tried it, you must. they serve it hot with house-made matzah balls, or you can pick it up fresh (or frozen, of course) with a pack of frozen balls to go along.
    truly amazing stuff.
    your welcome.

  11. Posted on November 1st, 2010

    I know this is a little late but since I’m home sick I’ll share my tips for Eastern European chicken soup. Personally, I use chicken necks and back (3-4, preferably organic) which are cheaper and give the best flavour on account of all the bones. My soup also contains bay leaves, parsley, and 7-10 peppercorns which can be fished out later. Leslie’s tip of cooking matzoh balls in vegeta’d water is something I do as well. Instead of matzohs, I also make my mother’s version of dumplings which is the same recipe but uses cream of wheat/ farina rather than matzoh meal.

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