4 Must-Have Recipes for Winter: #1 – Jewish Penicillin aka Chicken Soup

Do you wish someone would bring you homemade chicken soup when you have the flu, severe allergies, or “the crud?”  I sure do.   Although experts claim that no one knows why chicken soup helps with recovery from winter colds and flu (there are theories), anecdotal evidence from around the world credit this delicious soup (also lovingly known as Jewish Penicillin), for their recovery.

 In my childhood home, every Saturday my father would make either a chicken soup or a vegetable beef and marrow bone soup.  I credit this practice for his longevity and health.  Here’s my dad’s chicken soup recipe in printable form.

Kathy’s Tip:

Well, just in case no one offers to bring you this treasure when you need it, be prepared to have soup packs in the freezer at the ready. Keep freezer bags filled with fresh, pastured chicken wings and separate bags of soup vegetables, cleaned and cut, ready to plop in the water. Throw a chicken and veggie bag in a crock-pot, cover with water, add salt, turn the crock “on,” and hobble back to bed.

Classic Chicken Soup

Classic Chicken Soup


  • The way I make chicken soup is easy!
  • Into a medium-sized heavy cast-iron pot of filtered water I add:
  • A large package of free range chicken drumettes
  • A sliced onion
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • An entire bulb of garlic, peeled
  • Four stalks of organic celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of finely minced parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • Secret ingredient tip from my dad: add a quartered apple for sweetness or
  • Secret ingredient from a recipe in "How to Cook like a Jewish Mother" : tsp. of sugar.
  • Cilantro or parsley and a squeeze of fresh lime


  • Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for an hour or two.
  • Serve with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro and a squeeze of lime. These toppings are critical to the taste in my opinion and not optional.
  • If you want to add noodles or bowtie pasta, cook it separately (perhaps with some of the chicken broth and water.) When serving soup, add a scoop of pasta to the bowl and then ladle hot soup and sprinkle condiments on top. Cooking pasta in the soup makes the broth cloudy from starch and the pasta gets way over cooked when the soup is re-warmed.
  • Like potatoes in soup? Best ones to cook in this chicken soup recipe are the small white-skinned or red-skinned potatoes, halved. Other types of large potatoes should be diced and cooked separately and added to bowl as pasta above. Otherwise, if potatoes are cooked in the soup, they start to break down, change the consistency of broth, and potatoes turn to mush on the re-warm.

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