Chicken Soup for my Jewish Soul

It must be noted that every time a Jewish child gets sick, it is immediately taken to a medical professional, given antibiotics and put on a severe dose of chicken soup. In fact, the only good thing about getting sick is the parcel of chicken soup delivered by my grandmother who insists on giving me enough supply to feed an army. In fact, Jamie Oliver refers to traditional Jewish chicken soup as “Jewish Penicillin”. According to the Huffington Post, in a 2000 study published by the journal of American College of Chest Physicians researchers found that chicken soup can actually reduce upper-respiratory inflammation which leads to colds and flu. So jokes on you, Jewish grannies have been correct for years!

The other day I got sick and naturally I requested some chicken soup to heal my ailment, however, as the years have gone by my grandmother has become unable to drive; thus my delivery service has been ripped from underneath me. In fact, I called her in the hopes of collecting my own chicken soup but to my dismay she was out of stock. Yes folks, my Jewish grandmother had no chicken soup in her freezer. It was at that moment that I realised I needed to learn to make my own chicken soup (because my mum has absolutely no idea how to make it) and my mind wondered to the awful (and inevitable) reality of my dear grandmother dying and taking her chicken soup recipe with her.

I immediately called her up and got that recipe, and (attempted) to make some of the sap of the Jewish people. Some comments from the family included…
“Wow Jamie, great chicken water!” and others lied “It tastes just like granny’s”

So folks, if you have the guts to try replicate a recipe that has been used every week for the last eighty-years, let me know how it goes…


  • 1 whole chicken or 10pc braai pack
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 leaks
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 turnip
  • Soup celery (hand full)
  • 2T chicken stock

Place chicken (cleaned) in the pot and cover with water. Cut carrots into rounds, slice and cut the leaks (both green and white), peel turnip, roughly diced onion and the handful of celery (without stalks) in the pot.

Bring to the boil and simmer on medium for 2 – 3 hours (covered) checking regularly for scum (dirt at the top). Remove scum as needed and keep topping up the pot with hot water as needed.
Important tip: keep the soup covered at all times

After the 2 – 3 hours, strain everything so that you are only left if the liquid.
Separate the carrots from the other ingredients. Slice the carrots smaller, return the carrots to the soup and then restrain. (This makes the soup golden)

Add chicken stock and simmer for another hour.

The chicken soup can then be frozen, if you wanting to eat it there and then, add angel hair pasta/ lokshin (two rings) and enjoy.

After the 5 hour process, you should be left with delicious chicken soup, but the only question is what do I do with all the left over chicken? Well, my grandmother (and most other Jewish grandmothers) use the chicken used in the soup to make perogons. These are mini chicken pies that go into the soup when eating it. It’s an absolute must try.

All you do is separate the chicken from the rest of the ingredients, chop the chicken and add one onion to the chicken. Roll out puff pastry, cut in circles (using the a glass). Add the chicken and onion mix. Fold over and use a fork to press the edges down. Egg wash and put in the oven for 20 minutes on 180 degrees. You’re left with crispy mini chicken pies to add to your chicken soup! (and no wastage – this recipe was definitely used in war-time!)

So there you have it folks, your very own recipe – stay well (and warm) and make all the Jewish grandmothers out there proud!


The final product

Disclaimer: all images courtesy of




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