A few years ago when I was out in Los Angeles visiting my family, my brother insisted we head to Canter’s Deli, an iconic Jewish deli that has been around since 1931. I am never one to turn down some good Jewish comfort food, and was thrilled to order a big bowl of matzah ball soup on a cool, rainy December night to share with my then 2 year old daughter. The bowl was filled to the brim with not only a larger-than-life matzah ball, but kreplach, rice and noodles. That’s right – it was a matzah ball carb fest, and it was glorious.
Is there anything more satisfying or comforting than a hearty, homemade bowl of chicken soup? Well yes, and it’s when your chicken soup was made in a crockpot and you didn’t have to do any of the hard work.
My mother-in-law, Lee, introduced me to this wonderful recipe, and it’s the perfect thing to serve for Sukkot. I put everything into one pot, let it cook slowly on the stovetop, and enjoy the delightful aroma until the soup is done. There is no easier or more delicious way to eat.
There are some things that are a constant on our holiday table, and chicken soup is a given. Too hot outside for soup? My gang doesn’t care. They won’t be satisfied until I ladle shimmering broth over a mound of skinny noodles and carrot coins.
Chicken soup is one of the most comforting dishes in the world, and I know every culture has their own version. It’s not only delicious, but it also has healing powers. It’s not called Jewish penicillin for nothing, after all.
More than any other question that I get from friends and readers is how to make a great chicken soup with matzah balls. Chicken soup is universal, comforting and enjoyed year-round, as opposed to some traditional Jewish foods that are enjoyed only at a particular holiday.
I think it’s safe to say that every Jewish grandmother who has proclaimed, “You should eat more!” has a mean recipe for chicken soup in her arsenal. For generations, colds and flus have gone to battle with bowls and bowls of Jewish penicillin made by these bubbes, and my abuela was no exception.
I’m at the tail end of a bad cold. I have a bottle of Dayquil sitting next to me on my desk, and earlier this week I had to restock my tissue supply both at work and at home. And through this sickness I have been slurping soups like there’s no tomorrow. Lentil soup, cabbage soup, pumpkin soup, and of course, matzah ball soup (made without chicken, because I’m a vegetarian).