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Jewish Recipes: Chicken Soup

Updated on March 15, 2015
Paula Atwell profile image

Paula Atwell is a freelance writer with WriterAccess, webmaster, member of Pinterest Party on FB and the owner of Lake Erie Artist Gallery.

Chicken soup with noodles
Chicken soup with noodles

Why is Chicken Soup called Jewish Penicillin?

Chicken soup--the Jewish Penicillin. How did that phrase develop?

Well, I can tell you from a personal perspective that chicken soup is a penicillin in my family. And here is why--chicken soup may not heal all ills, but it sure makes you feel better when it is made from scratch.

This article is a discussion of why chicken soup is called Jewish Penicillin, along with some great chicken soup recipes, and some of my grandmother's chicken soup wisdom.

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Chicken soup with carrots and dumplings
Chicken soup with carrots and dumplings

Chicken Soup in My Life - Chicken soup has been a part of many family celebrations

Chicken soup has played a very big role in my life.

The chicken soup recipe handed down in my family was given to us by my grandmother who, of course, didn't really have a recipe. She just put a little bit of this, and a little bit of that in. And it always came out amazing.

I think that my personal experience with "Jewish penicillin" wasn't so much that I was given soup when I was sick, but that it was such a comfort food for me.

It is rare that I get to eat real chicken soup made from scratch anymore. The only time I am sure to eat it is during Passover, when my mom makes everything from scratch. But there is something about the homemade kind of chicken soup that is very warm and cozy from the inside out.

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My Bubbie's Chicken Soup Recipe

Making Jewish Chicken Soup from Scratch

My grandmother's chicken soup recipe is simple, and I will write it here the way she gave it to me, but you may have questions. However, the answer to your questions is this: Make it to your taste.

  • Take some chicken parts including bones. Put them in a pot of boiling water. When the scum comes up to the top of the water (that is what she called it), scrape it off the top and throw it away.
  • Continue boiling chicken for about an hour. After an hour or so, you can remove the bones and chicken. Then add, onions, carrots, celery, parsley root, parsnip and boil for another 30 minutes or so.
  • Add salt, and pepper to taste.

Now you may ask, what about amounts? Well, as old school cooks often did, she never had amounts, and just put stuff in. So what you find is that your soup will turn out slightly differently each time.

I believe myself, that the parsnip makes the biggest difference in the soup. It is good without it, but better with it.

Bubbie never put noodles or rice in her soup, but we do add matzah balls during Passover. Usually she used the chicken to make chicken salad instead of putting it back in the soup.

You often hear that the simplest recipe is the best. I am not sure if it was the recipe, or Bubbie's added love when she made it, but I can tell you, this is still my favorite chicken soup recipe by far.

Jewish Penicillin

A great home remedy


We all know that chicken soup has a long held tradition of curing the common cold and flu. After all, Mom and Grandma have been saying that forever.

But what can chicken soup accomplish?

Dr. Stephen Rennard, a specialist in pulmonary medicine, put his wife's grandmother's chicken soup recipe to the test. He concluded that chicken soup actually has a mild medicinal effect, inhibiting inflammation of the cells in the nasal passage, reducing the symptoms of a cold.

So chicken soup really can help you get better!

Mother Wonderful's Chicken Soup

Mother Wonderful's Chicken Soup
Mother Wonderful's Chicken Soup

Early one morning, when you know your daughter is having a busy day, call her and say you're catching a cold. Ask if she can spare a few minutes to drive you to a butcher on the other side of town so you can buy a chicken with feet for soup. Everybody knows chicken soup is the best defense against germs...

Hilarious and true to form, this book is for all people who have mothers.


Absolute Best Passover Chicken Broth Recipe - Chicken soup with matzah balls is the best at Passover

You don't have to be Jewish or wait for Passover to make incredible homemade chicken stock. Plan on at least two hours for the flavor of the chicken to leach into the stock. Continue boiling another hour after straining to reduce to a richer stock. Save the skimmed chicken fat (schmaltz) for making matzo balls.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours


  • 1 whole (3-4 pounds) Empire chicken (the best - but any fresh chicken will do)
  • 1 medium turnip quartered
  • 2 leeks white part only cleaned thoroughly and quartered
  • 1 small rutabaga quartered
  • 3 ribs of celery with leaves halved
  • 12 parsley stems
  • 2 large carrots quartered
  • 2 large onions quartered
  • 8 peppercorns crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Kosher or coarse salt
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Clean the chicken and discard giblets or any other presents you've been given in the cavity. Salt the entire chicken inside and out liberally with kosher or coarse salt. Let chicken stand for 35 minutes.
  • Wash salt from chicken and place in a medium to large stockpot. Cover chicken with turnip, leeks, rutabaga, celery, parsley, carrots, onions, peppercorns, and thyme. Cover with 4 or 5 quarts of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, occasionally skimming the foam from the top.
  • Remove the chicken to a large platter when it is still firm and not falling apart. Remove the meat from the chicken and save for sandwiches (no bread during Passover!) and salads. Then take the bones and return them to the pot and simmer for one more hour.
  • Strain the soup into a large bowl and discard everything in the strainer. Refrigerate long enough to allow hardened fat to form on surface, then simply remove the fat. Bring back up to heat with salt and pepper to taste.

Hint: You can add more vegetables at this point or start the process again for a really rich broth. That's the way Chinese chicken stock is prepared sometimes using as many as six or eight chickens.


Sephardic Leek Soup (Sopa de Prasa) Recipe

Sephardic means "from Spanish and Mediterranian Jews"

Leeks are a symbolic food for Rosh Hashanah, but you will enjoy this leek and potato soup year-round. If you prefer a creamy soup, you may process in a food processor. It is delicious either way and may be served warm or cold.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes


  • 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 10 medium (about 2 pounds) leeks, trimmed, sliced and well-washed
  • 2 large baking potatoes, peeled and grated OR 3 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 8 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (See note)
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg (optional)


  • Heat the oil in a 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and potatoes. Sauté until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the parsley, broth, salt and pepper, and nutmeg (optional). Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the contents, covered, 40 minutes, until tender. Serve the soup as is or process in a blender.
  • Serve warm or chilled. Adjust seasoning before serving.

Note: White pepper is recommended for appearance in white soups. However, freshly ground black pepper is recommended for taste.

Yield: 6 servings

Recipe Source: The World of Jewish Entertaining: Menus and Recipes for the Sabbath, Holidays, and Other Family Celebrations by Gil Marks (Simon & Schuster)

Jewish Penicillin Soup Mug

Jewish Penicillin Ceramic Soup Mug
Jewish Penicillin Ceramic Soup Mug

Anyone who is feeling under the weather will love this Jewish Penicillin Mug! Perfect for chicken soup!


The Definition of Jewish Penicillin

Why is chicken soup called Jewish penicillin


Jewish penicillin: Chicken soup. If not really a form of penicillin," chicken soup may, in fact, have some therapeutic merit.

A study published in the journal Chest demonstrated that chicken soup may contain substances with beneficial activity including an anti-inflammatory effect that could ease the symptoms of colds and other upper respiratory infections. Chicken soup was found to inhibit neutrophil migration providing a basis for an anti-inflammatory activity. "Undoubtedly, the in vivo effects of chicken soup include more than the effects on neutrophils," the researchers wrote. "The warm liquid, particularly when sipped, can stimulate nasal clearance and may improve upper respiratory tract symptoms." (Rennard BO, Ertl RF, Grossman GL, et al. Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Chest. 2000;18:1150-1157.)

It should be added that to benefit from Jewish penicillin, one need not be Jewish.


Chicken Tortellini Soup Recipe

Thick and hearty chicken soup uses pre-made cheese tortellini pasta and frozen broccoli. This soup takes only 30 minutes of cooking time.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 6 large chicken breasts, boned and cooked
  • 3 (10-1/2 ounces) cans chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (16 ounces) package frozen chopped broccoli
  • 1 (9 ounces) package fresh cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (8 ounces) carton sour cream


  • Save the chicken broth that the chicken was cooked in; you might want to thin the soup.
  • In a large stockpot, combine canned chicken broth, celery, and chopped onion. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the chicken soup, broccoli, cheese tortellini pasta, pepper, basil, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Bring to boiling point, turn heat down and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the sour cream.
  • This makes a fairly thick soup so if you want it thinner, add a cup of the chicken broth that the chicken was cooked in.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Recipe Source: Mother's Recipes: A Contemporary Collection of Family Treasures by Sheryn R. Jones and Barbara Jones (Cookbook Resources)

Lemony Chicken Soup with Spinach Recipe

Eat your vegetables in your soup

Chicken soup with spinach, lemon juice, leeks, barley, carrots, and herbs is fast to make in the pressure cooker. Try the included variation for a Thai version with lemongrass and shrimp.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes


  • 1 Tablespoon butter or oil
  • 3-1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks or coarsely chopped onions
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 pound chicken parts, preferably thighs, skinned
  • 3 large ribs celery, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh spinach, trimmed, chopped, and thoroughly rinsed, or 2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 4 to 5 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 juicy lemons)


  • Over medium-high heat, heat the butter in the pressure cooker until it begins to foam. Cook the leeks, stirring frequently, until they soften, about 5 minutes. (If using onions, for a sweeter taste, cook them, covered, over low heat for an additional 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.) Add the water and bring to a boil as you prepare and add the chicken parts, celery, carrots, barley, bay leaves, thyme, and salt.
  • Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Lower the heat to maintain high pressure and cook for 12 minutes. Quick-release the pressure by setting the cooker under cold, running water. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape.
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken parts to a cutting board. Taste the barley, and if it is still hard (it should be chewy but tender), return to high pressure for 3 minutes more.
  • Spoon off any fat visible on the surface. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Stir in the chicken broth and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and boil the soup over medium heat until the spinach is tender, about 2 minutes for fresh and 5 minutes for frozen.
  • When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and chop or shred it into bite-sized pieces. Return to the cooker. When the chicken is good and hot, turn off the heat and stir in the dill, lemon juice, and salt to taste.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Variation: Thai-Inspired Chicken Soup:

  • Substitute one 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk for 2 cups of the water. Omit the thyme and cook the soup with the finely chopped bulbs of 2 stalks fresh lemongrass. You may add 4 to 6 ounces small, shelled shrimp at the end and boil over medium heat until they turn pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Substitute cilantro or basil for the dill and use lime juice instead of lemon. Season with Japanese soy sauce (tamari or shoyu) instead of salt.

Note: If you cannot find fresh lemongrass, look for Thai Kitchen's lemongrass bottled in a light brine. Do not use dried lemongrass.

Recipe Source: The Pressured Cook: Over 75 One-Pot Meals In Minutes, Made In Today's 100% Safe Pressure Cookers by Lorna Sass (William Morrow)

What is Your Chicken Soup Preference? - How do you like to eat your chicken soup?

What size noodles are the best?

Small thin noodles

Small thin noodles

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    • bigpoppa3ross 4 years ago

      I loved the Bubbie article. I showed so much love. I'm adding parsnips to me recipe now!!!!

    • hungry-deer 4 years ago

      Grannys thin home made noodles :)

    • Lori Green 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      I use both. I love this lens!

    • CampingmanNW 4 years ago

      Inasmuch as most all of us grew up on Campbell's chicken noodle soup, it is hard to change. But I like both noodles. Forced to make a choice? I go with the original, the skinny noodle.

    • RuralFloridaLiving 4 years ago

      Any and all, really!

    • Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I like the small noodles.

    • MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 4 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Loads of the thin noodles-my favorite!

    • Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

      That's a tough question! I love them both but I guess if I had to choose it would be small, thin noodles. Lots of them, of course!

    • melody-thacker 6 years ago

      Yes small noodles are best, the more the better.

    • IArtist LM 7 years ago

      Small thin noodles are the best!

    • Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      I like lots and lots of very thin egg noodles.

    • Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      I like thin noodles in my chicken soup.

    Big wide flat noodles

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      • MomTips 4 years ago

        big wide!!

      • Jack 4 years ago

        I like the big thick noodles.

      • LarryClarkBlog 4 years ago

        Great Site! You really put allot of work into the content. I am a chicken and any noodle soup guy!

      • Clairissa 4 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

        I like those wide suckers!

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        I like both really, but if I have to choose, the big ones win!

      • TravelingRae 5 years ago

        I find the wider noodles to be more satisfying. But my first choice is matzo balls!

      • compugraphd 6 years ago


        I'm a long time vegan and, therefore, haven't eaten chicken soup in lo these many years, but I always liked wide noodles (which I use now -- mung bean fettuccine noodles).

      • TWOnline2 6 years ago

        any size

      • Deb Kingsbury 6 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

        I like a good chicken soup either way, but I definitely prefer the thick, wide noodles.

      • Rhonda Albom 6 years ago from New Zealand

        big egg noodles for me!

      • BarryKrost 6 years ago

        Gotta be big!trendset

      • anonymous 8 years ago

        I guess dumplings would qualify as wide, not really flat though. After making them once, that's the way my husband wants it.

      • Sensitive Fern 8 years ago

        It just depends on the day, really. Noodles of any kind are okay with me.

      • debmc1 8 years ago

        I like kluski noodles. Fat and not too wide.

      • Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

        I like them wide and flat, only because they're easier to manage without splattering my blouse

      • Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

        Thick home made egg noodles are what I love to use in my soups~

      Mulligatawny Soup
      Mulligatawny Soup

      Mulligatawny Soup Recipe - A hearty chicken soup meal

      Hearty chicken soup is rich with onions, carrots, celery, sweet bell peppers, tomatoes, rice, spices, and cream. Mulligatawny soup is originally a dish from southern India using chicken (or sometimes other meats) and is flavored with curry powder. You may cut back on the curry to suit your tastes, but do use some.

      Prep Time: 20 minutes

      Cook Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes


      • 3 Tablespoons butter or margarine
      • 2 small yellow onion, peeled and minced
      • 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and diced fine
      • 1 stalk celery, diced fine
      • 1/2 green pepper, cored, seeded, and minced
      • 1/4 cup unsilfted flour
      • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
      • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
      • 3 cloves
      • 2 sprigs parsley
      • 1 quart chicken broth
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
      • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
      • 1 cup diced cooked chicken
      • 1/2 cup heavy cream
      • 1 cup boiled rice


      • Melt butter in a large saucepan, add onion, carrot, celery, and green pepper, and stir-fry 8 to 10 minutes until onion is golden. Blend in flour, curry powder, and nutmeg. Add cloves, parsley, broth, salt, pepper, and tomatoes, cover, and simmer 1 hour.
      • Strain broth; pick out and discard cloves and parsley, puree vegetables with about 1 cup soup liquid by buzzing 20 to 30 seconds in an electric blender at low speed or 15 to 20 seconds in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade.
      • Smooth puree into broth, return to heat, add chicken and cream, and heat, stirring, 5 to 10 minutes to blend flavors. Add rice, heat and stir 2 to 3 minutes longer, then serve.

      Yield: 6 servings

      Recipe Source: The New Doubleday Cookbook by Jean Anderson and Elaine Hanna (Doubleday)

      Jewish Penicillin?

      Does chicken soup really cure?


      Is it Jewish penicillin?

      The scientific verdict is still out on this question. It certainly seems to help those with colds and congestion, but may not necessarily be the best choice for an upset stomach unless it is fat-free.

      Some studies seem to indicate definite healing properties of chicken soup while others indicate any hot soup can produce the same result. Doctors do seem to agree that a hot savory broth helps open nasal passages and soothe the throat for a period of up to half an hour. Sipping soup through a straw does not produce the same beneficial result as consuming the hot soup with a spoon. Clearly the vapor and aroma are important factors.

      Clear soups provide necessary sustenance and hydration while helping to stimulate the appetite. Certainly there is also a mental factor involved. Memories of home, being pampered by Mom with soup as a child, or just the warm feeling of the hot soup in the stomach strongly come into play. We all know that love is good medicine, and it is a strong component of soup.

      Lancaster Chicken Corn Soup Recipe

      Saffron gives color and flavor to this homemade chicken soup filled with noodles or homemade rivels and corn. You may use fresh or frozen corn. If you wish to freeze the soup, cool and do so before adding the pasta.

      Prep Time: 30 minutes

      Cook Time: 2 hours



      • 1 (4- to 5-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
      • 2-1/2 to 3 quarts water, or as needed
      • 1 large onion
      • 8 to 10 black peppercorns
      • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
      • 8 to 10 threads of saffron, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron (optional)
      • 10 ears of corn, or 4 cups frozen corn kernels
      • 3 celery stalks, diced with leaves
      • 6 ounces wide egg noodles, packaged egg barley, or Rivels (see below)
      • Freshly ground white pepper
      • 2/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
      • 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped


      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • Pinch of ground white pepper
      • 1 large egg, beaten
      • 3/4 to 1 cup all-purpose flour, as needed


      To Make Soup:

      • Place chicken in soup pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and skim foam as it rises to the surface. When it has subsided, add onion, peppercorns, salt, and saffron. Simmer gently but steadily, partly covered, for about 1-1/2 hours or until tender.
      • Remove chicken. Trim and discard bones and skin, and onion. Let soup cool, then skim fat from surface. Tear meat into spoonable pieces and return to soup.
      • Cut kernels from 4 ears of corn, then grate kernels from remaining 6 ears, catching all milk and pulp on foil or waxed paper. If using frozen kernels, puree half in a food processor or blender, adding a little soup if liquid is needed. Add whole kernels and grated or pureed corn to soup along with celery and noodles, egg barley, or rivels.
      • Simmer gently until corn and noodles or rivels are cooked. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Stir in parsley and serve, garnishing each portion with chopped hard-cooked egg.
      • This soup freezes well, but do that before adding the noodles, barley, or dumplings. Prepare those when reheating soup. To prevent scorching during reheating, place the pot over an asbestos mat or on other insulating plate.

      To Make Rivels:

      • Stir salt and pepper into egg and add 2/3 cup flour and beat. Keep adding and beating in flour until mixture is crumbly but a bit sticky.
      • Rub between hands or pinch off pea-size pieces and drop them into simmering soup.
      • Cover loosely and let cook for about 15 minutes or until rivels solidify.
      • To make the rivels ahead of time, cook them in lightly salted boiling water or some extra soup stock and then drain and reserve them to be reheated in the soup just before it is served.

      Yield: 8 to 10 first-course servings; 4 to 6 main-course servings

      Recipe Source: The Whole World Loves Chicken Soup: Recipes and Lore to Comfort Body and Soul by Mimi Sheraton (Warner Books)

      Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup

      Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup
      Watch Out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup

      Embarrassed to introduce his friend to his old-fashioned Italian grandmother, a young boy gains a new appreciation of her when he finds how well she and his friend get along.

      Tortilla Soup (El Torito's Sopa de Tortilla)
      Tortilla Soup (El Torito's Sopa de Tortilla)

      Tortilla Soup (El Torito's Sopa de Tortilla) Recipe - Mexican Penicillin?

      This hearty chicken soup with a Mexican flavor is loaded with chicken, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini. It is a crowd-pleaser at the popular El Torito restaurant chain in California. To save time, use cooked rotisserie chicken from the market or your own leftover chicken.

      Prep Time: 20 minutes

      Cook Time: 45 minutes


      For Soup:

      • 7 cups chicken broth
      • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
      • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
      • 2 stalks celery, diced
      • 1/2 bell pepper, seeded and diced
      • 1 potato, peeled and diced
      • 1/4 cup tomato paste
      • 1 bay leaf
      • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
      • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
      • Salt to taste
      • White ground pepper to taste
      • 1 zucchini, diced
      • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
      • 2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached and shredded

      For Presentation:

      • 3 corn tortillas
      • Vegetable oil
      • 1-1/2 cups shredded Jack cheese
      • 8-10 slices avocado
      • Cilantro sprigs


      • In large pot, combine chicken broth, onion, carrots, celery, bell pepper, potatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, garlic, and oregano. Season to taste and bring to boil. Simmer 25 minutes.
      • Add zucchini, tomatoes, and shredded chicken breast pieces. Bring to boil, then simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
      • Cut tortillas into matchstick size strips. Sauté in hot oil until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
      • To serve, place tortilla strips in individual bowls. Cover with shredded cheese and ladle in soup. Top with slice of avocado and cilantro sprig.

      Yield: 8 to 10 servings

      Recipe Source: El Torito Restaurant chain, California

      New England Soup Factory Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes from the Nation's Best Purveyor of Fine Soup - Soup to Comfort You in the Winter

      New England Soup Factory Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes from the Nation's Best Purveyor of Fine Soup
      New England Soup Factory Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes from the Nation's Best Purveyor of Fine Soup

      Marjorie Druker is passionate about soups. She fell in love with soups when she first heard the story Stone Soup. After attending Johnston & Whales, Marjorie created the menu for the popular Boston Market restaurant chain, and soups were always her favorite. "My niche is taking what people like to eat and turning it into a soup," she says.

      These recipes are included in this book:

      New England Clam Chowder

      Wild Mushroom and Barley Soup

      Curried Crab and Coconut Soup

      Raspberry-Nectarine Gazpacho

      Cucumber-Buttermilk Soup


      Chicken, Bacon, and White Bean Soup Portugese-Style Recipe

      This soup makes a whole meal

      White beans, bacon, shallots, and garlic add tremendous flavor to Portuguese-style chicken soup. This makes a hearty meal in a bowl. Plan ahead to soak the beans overnight or save yourself some time and used drained canned beans. If you use canned beans, reduce the simmering time to 15 minutes and add the beans along with the chicken and bacon at the end.

      Prep Time: 15 minutes

      Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes


      • 1 pound dried white beans, such as white kidney (cannellini) or great Northern, rinsed and picked over
      • 1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch wide pieces
      • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
      • 1/2 cup chopped celery
      • 2 Tablespoons minced shallots
      • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
      • 2 bay leaves
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
      • 2 quarts chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
      • 3/4 pound diced cooked chicken
      • 1 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese


      • Put the beans into a large pot or bowl. Add water to cover by 2 inches and soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. Then drain. (For a quick soak, bring the beans and water to a boil over high heat and cook for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to stand for 1 hour. Drain.)
      • Fry the bacon in a heavy medium stockpot over medium-high heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to lift onto paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pot.
      • Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the shallots, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots soften, about 1 minute.
      • Add the beans to the pot with the stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1-1/2 hours.
      • Stir in the chicken and the reserved bacon and heat through. Remove and discard bay leaves.
      • Ladle into warm bowl and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

      Yield: 8 to 12 servings

      Recipe Source: "Prime Time Emeril: More TV Dinners from America's Favorite Chef" by Emeril Lagasse (William Morrow)

      © 2008 Paula Atwell

      What are Your Chicken Soup Memories?

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          The Homeopath 8 years ago

          I'm 38 years old. Married for 15 years, with 4 children of my own. And I STILL love it when my mom makes chicken soup for me. Yum!! My favorite thing about winter is coming home to a hot crock pot of steaming chicken soup.

        • Sheryl Westleigh profile image

          Sheryl Westleigh 8 years ago from Maine

          Got a little twist. I'm the daughter and I make chicken soup for my mom! She never learned how to make it from scratch but I did so I'm the soup chef in my family. Great lens, 5 stars!

        • AlisonMeacham profile image

          AlisonMeacham 8 years ago

          What a great lens - even though I have to confess I am a vegetarian!

          You have been Blessed by a Squid Angel

        • ArtByLinda profile image

          Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

          Love chicken soup, especially homemade. This is a great lens, and I am so hungry now...gotta get off here and make dinner! 5* Linda

        • aka-rms profile image

          Robin S 8 years ago from USA

          I love home made chicken soup! Nice work on this delicious lens!

        • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

          MargoPArrowsmith 8 years ago

          Its late at night and I want to go make chicken soup. Beautiful 5* lens.

        • KimGiancaterino profile image

          KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

          Wonderful lens! Welcome to Culinary Favorites From A to Z. Squid Angel Blessed.

        • profile image

          Judel 8 years ago

          I've always believed it was the stock that makes us feel better. Wonderful recipes and great lens!

        • ZenandChic profile image

          Patricia 8 years ago

          Great lens! I love chicken soup. It does make you feel better.

        • fotolady49 lm profile image

          fotolady49 lm 8 years ago

          I wish I had some homemade chicken soup right now. I have a cold and feel lousy. I need some Jewish Penicillin!

          5 ***** sounds wonderful.

        • profile image

          Mayflowerblood 8 years ago

          yup looks good! =]

        • ArtByLinda profile image

          Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

          Making homemade turkey noodle soup right now, love it! Great lens. Linda

        • jimmielanley profile image

          Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

          I hereby bless this lens. I'd never heard that chicken soup was Jewish penicillin. What a wonderful name! Chinese people also say that chicken soup is good for a cold. :-) It's universal!

          I also love the pic of you and your Bubbie! :-)

        • debmc1 profile image

          debmc1 8 years ago

          I am feeling so hungry for chicken soup right now. Thank you.

        • profile image

          getbackup 8 years ago

          Great lens!! Yumm.... it all looks so good! I'm under the weather & think this would be the ticket! : )

        • Sensitive Fern profile image

          Sensitive Fern 8 years ago

          You've done your job mouth is now watering. Which recipe to try first, is the problem. And parsnips in chicken soup...hadn't thought of that. Yum. 5*

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          anonymous 8 years ago

          Hi Tipi is featuring you, she's my sister, so I Squiddoe over & saw this right away--I think chicken soup makes you feel better even if you're not sick. You have some ideas here that are new to me--nice to have some variations. I like to add white wine and butter just before putting the dumplings. This is a nice lens, I feel better just getting close to chicken soup!

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          momsherbs 8 years ago

          Wonderful and beautiful lens. Great job!

        • WhiteOak50 profile image

          WhiteOak50 7 years ago

          Holy Cow-What time is soup going to be ready? You have some of the best recipes ever. I love making chicken soup but mine is pretty simple, and have not made it since I have to watch my salt intake. I love lots of carrots in my chicken soup. Fantastic lens, and what an honor that this recipe was passed down from your Bubbie. That is a blessing and a comfort all in itself!

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          slotowngal 7 years ago

          There's nothing more soothing than hot chicken soup when you're feeling under the weather or it's cold outside.

          Wonderful lens! 5 stars and favorited. :-)

        • BarryKrost profile image

          BarryKrost 6 years ago

          Yum. Wonderful alternative possibilities.

        • Dianne Loomos profile image

          Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

          I must try your Absolute Best Passover Chicken Broth Recipe. It sounds truly wonderful. I make a lot of chicken broth and we always have it when we are sick. I also use it in recipes.

        • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

          LouiseKirkpatrick 6 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

          This is an outstanding lens! There are some absolutely fabulous recipes here - Chicken soup is most definitely the ultimate comfort food when you're ill and it's interesting to know that there seems to be some medical basis for it's reputation as a "healing" food :) Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

        • Paula Atwell profile image

          Paula Atwell 6 years ago from Cleveland, OH

          @LouiseKirkpatrick: Thanks for flying by. It is certainly a great time to brush up on chicken soup recipes, as it is just the beginning of soup weather. :)

        • RhondaAlbom profile image

          Rhonda Albom 6 years ago from New Zealand

          Wow, fantastic lens. I love chicken soup. Like you it has been a family tradition. Sadly, my grandma wouldn't share her wonderful recipe and its not written down. No one was allowed in the kitchen when she prepared the passover soup, so the recipe is now gone.

        • Paula Atwell profile image

          Paula Atwell 6 years ago from Cleveland, OH

          @RhondaAlbom: That is sad. I have my grandmother's favorite strudel recipe, and gefilte fish recipe. But only family is allowed to know those. ;)

        • RhondaAlbom profile image

          Rhonda Albom 6 years ago from New Zealand

          Just got my wings and had to come back to give this awesome lens with a blessing. I added a link here: Angel Blessings from Pukeko October 2010

        • Ramkitten2000 profile image

          Deb Kingsbury 6 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

          Mm, I can smell the chicken soup now. I definitely have it in my veins, but I've never made it myself, and my mom never made it from scratch when I was growing up. I had to wait for visits to my grandmother's house to get the "real thing." Those recipes you have here look (and I can tell smell) delicious.

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Great lens and great recipes. Some of my fondest memories were my Bubbe giving us her version of chicken soup - saltines and a can of campbell's. My mother, on the other hand, still makes some killer matzah ball soup. One year at Passover, we had 10 extra guests arrive, with no notice. We do not know how, but her Matzah balls and broth multiplied and fed everyone that came late. It was down to just about nothing, and yes I saw it with my own eyes.

        • Paula Atwell profile image

          Paula Atwell 6 years ago from Cleveland, OH

          @anonymous: The magical chicken soup. Great story and thanks for sharing it with us. :)

        • WildFacesGallery profile image

          Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

          I had not heard it called Jewish Penicillin before. :D But it's good stuff. A nicely done lens. You know fall is here, I think I'm having some chicken soup tonight. Though mine will be a personalized store bought variety. Not as good but sometimes it just has to be that way.

        • delia-delia profile image

          Delia 6 years ago

          I love Jewish Penicillin, and yes it works! my sister was not feeling well last week(maybe coming down with a cold) I made soup but did not have chicken, so took my Hebrew National hot dogs, cut them up and added them to the soup...she loved it and said, she felt like he had eaten chicken soup, cause it made her feel good...I love the Matzah Balls, I have added Knödel or Klöse to my soups before.

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          scar4 6 years ago

          Me and my hubby don't have chicken soup a long time, envy you!

        • EditPhotos profile image

          Edit Photos 6 years ago from Earth

          I actually felt better just reading this lens. People have been saying "bless you" all day as I sneeze, now I say Squidoo Bless You!

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Wow! So many wonderful chicken soup recipes in the one spot, I think I'm in heaven. I'll be back to try some of your tasty sounding recipes.

        • GioiaMulas LM profile image

          GioiaMulas LM 6 years ago

          I was not aware of so many ways, thank you, seem to me one more good of others, especially health

        • profile image

          TWOnline2 6 years ago

          great lens. i love this stuff

        • paperfacets profile image

          Sherry Venegas 6 years ago from La Verne, CA

          For some family gatherings it is easiest to make a big pot of chicken soup and get the stool so it can be ladled it out.

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          jljocely1 6 years ago

          I love chicken corn soup. Mom adds cooked whites, sliced and the yellow to the boiling soup near the end. Yum!

        • gwishes4u profile image

          gwishes4u 6 years ago

          I'm not Jewish but I might have to try your Bubbie's recipe. It sounds so simple and good! Thanks for sharing!

        • photofk3 profile image

          photofk3 6 years ago

          Looks delicious, I want to try it.

        • compugraphd profile image

          compugraphd 6 years ago


          Interesting lens. I would appreciate it if, since you are Jewish Themed, that you would mention, on the recipes that aren't kosher (like the one with shrimp, the one with bacon and the one with dairy in the chicken soup) that the the recipes are inappropriate (without substitutions) for people who keep kosher (lots of people are new to keeping kosher and might get confused).

          BTW, I cook and bake like your Bubby. I had to start measuring when I starting writing recipes columns and my blog (which has healthy vegan recipes -- ) but for myself, I just toss together the ingredients. I rarely need to adjust too much :-)

        • nichevalue profile image

          nichevalue 6 years ago

          Yea - Whenever I am sick, a bowl of chicken soup always seems to comfort me. All these great chicken soup recipes are making me hungry.

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          RecipePublishing 5 years ago

          My mouth was watering with every picture and recipe!

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          RecipePublishing 5 years ago

          Comfort soup.

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          RecipePublishing 5 years ago

          Nice lens.

        • debnet profile image

          Debbie 5 years ago from England

          Yum, Yum! Now featured at Brr!! My Feet (Hands, Nose, Ears) Are Cold!!

        • Craftyville profile image

          Craftyville 5 years ago

          I love chicken soup with lots of fresh chopped chives.

        • Wbisbill LM profile image

          Barbara Isbill 5 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

          Enjoyed your delicious looking lens. I am including it on my 'Chicken Soup Recipe' lens. Thumbs up!

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          What great recipes and pictures too, I'm starting to think about lunch! Chicken soup is great if you're ill.

        • ottoblotto profile image

          ottoblotto 5 years ago

          Perfect for a cold day like today!

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          DentalTourism 5 years ago

          The nicest thing about chicken soup: it keeps for days in the fridge. Make an extra large pot, add lots of egg noodles and viola: lunches for the week.

        • CherylK profile image

          Cheryl Kohan 5 years ago from Minnesota

          Wow! There are some really great looking recipes, here. We love soup so I'll be trying some of these, for sure!

        • abloom lm profile image

          abloom lm 5 years ago

          I love chicken soup and I am always looking for new recipes. Passover is just a few weeks away, maybe this year we will make the matzah ball soup from scratch.

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          moonlitta 5 years ago

          God bless you for sharing this recipe:)

        • Blackspaniel1 profile image

          Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

          I like chicken noodle soup.

        • Winter52 LM profile image

          Winter52 LM 5 years ago

          I don't know what it is about chicken soup, but it does make you feel better, even if you don't feel like eating it lol! It still works. ;)

        • MartieG profile image

          MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 4 years ago from Jersey Shore

          Chicken soup has been a comfort food all my life-I still make it today if someones not feeling well! My family loves it! ~~Blessed~~

        • Wednesday-Elf profile image

          Wednesday-Elf 4 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

          Chicken soup is a standard for times one is feeling ill, but also good at any time and on a regular basis. :) We like thin noodles, carrots, onions and celery in our homemade chicken soup. And hubby always called it Jewish Penicillin too.

          BTW, my brother-in-law, who is Irish, makes a delicious homemade Clam Chowder which he states is "Irish Penicillin". :-).

        • jaclocla3 profile image

          jaclocla3 4 years ago

          We don't have a chicken soup recipe in our family. However, when I was a kid in Miami, my Italian Jewish neighbors made the best chicken soup I've ever had.

        • Paula Atwell profile image

          Paula Atwell 4 years ago from Cleveland, OH

          @jaclocla3: I have an Italian friend and we say that the only difference between us is the food. They make pasta, and we make kugel.

        • Gloriousconfusion profile image

          Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

          As a child, I once stayed with a Middle European Jewish family in Zambia. I was used to chicken soup from my mother and grandmother, but this was something else: It had a layer of chicken fat about 1-inch deep swimming across the top which they all loved, and I thought was disgusting, but manners forbade me from leaving it. I have never forgotten it - yuck!


        • Paula Atwell profile image

          Paula Atwell 4 years ago from Cleveland, OH

          @Gloriousconfusion: I do not think that I would like that either. :)

        • Scotties-Rock profile image

          Clairissa 4 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

          I love chicken noodle soup. I am actually making this right now, since our family is all sick so I was hoping this would make us feel a little better. :)

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          RuralFloridaLiving 4 years ago

          These look like fabulous recipes. Thanks for sharing. I'm definitely bookmarking this page!

        • CampingmanNW profile image

          CampingmanNW 4 years ago

          Other than your Mom bringing in a huge bowl of chicken noodle soup when you were sick? None, as it always worked to make me feel better after eating it. Thanks for the many, many great recipes.

        • NightMagic profile image

          NightMagic 4 years ago

          I've got to bookmark this lens. The chicken soup I make is okay but it definitely isn't anything to brag about I'm going to try yours.My mother used to make really really good chicken soup but she did the same thing --- a little bit of this & a little bit of that.

        • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

          Lisa Marie Gabriel 4 years ago from United Kingdom

          Mum always used to make chicken soup from the bones and leftover carcass meat - add a few veggies, some lentils and seasoning and it tastes wonderful. It may or may not be antibiotic, but the taste certainly makes you feel better!

        • Craftypicks profile image

          Lori Green 4 years ago from Las Vegas

          Of course I have my recipe handed down to me by my mother and grandmother. Basically the old recipe was more like broth or stock. My Mother in law and her mother made it the same way so getting my family to agree to eating it any other way is hard. I have been making it all winter. It's comfort food. Even the smell of the house while it's cooking brings on the warm fuzzies for us.

          I like a richer soup and never thought of making it twice with the stock. This is fantastic and I think I'll make it today like that.

        • MyFunnyBones profile image

          MyFunnyBones 4 years ago

          Those look really really good.

          I remember my mom soaking all those chicken bones overnight, those were the best ones. But really took a lot of time to get the right flavor.

          These days, I just buy them or take them out of a can... just sad.

        • montanatravel52 profile image

          montanatravel52 4 years ago

          Wow - you definitely brought back memories... I never have been a big "soup" fanatic, but growing up, I don't think I could have made it sometimes w/out my mom's homemade chicken noodle soup! And now I have young kids, so I better get to learning these recipes quick... great ideas, thanks for sharing :)!

        • Craftypicks profile image

          Lori Green 4 years ago from Las Vegas

          I just made the Passover recipe. As of now it's the best tasting chicken soup I have ever made. Tomorrow I'll use the broth and do the recipe over using the broth. My house smells SO good and we had chicken salad for dinner from it. YUM YUM YUM!

        • hungry-deer profile image

          hungry-deer 4 years ago

          Best chicken soup on the world would be my granny's soup. She has home grown chicken, uses home grown vegetables and home made noodles from home laid eggs... What can be better? I would never imagine the difference home grown and bread ingredients can make.

        • Paula Atwell profile image

          Paula Atwell 4 years ago from Cleveland, OH

          @Craftypicks: This is the perfect time of year to test out chicken soup recipes. :)

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          I can eat soup everyday making your recipes.

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          bigpoppa3ross 4 years ago

          I just discovered your lens today. It is a treasure trove of information. I will be returning often to steal these delicious recipes. Great work!

        • kabbalah lm profile image

          kabbalah lm 4 years ago

          I love homemade chicken soup

        • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

          Lisa Marie Gabriel 2 years ago from United Kingdom

          Penicillin is a definite no no for me as it would made me very ill indeed. On the other hand a bowl of home made chicken soup is MUCH nicer anyway.

        • Nancy Hardin profile image

          Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

          Nothing in the world like comforting, steamy, homemade chicken soup. Love these recipes and thanks for sharing them.

        • Paula Atwell profile image

          Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

          @Lisa You must have an allergy. Chicken soup tastes better too. :)

        • Paula Atwell profile image

          Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

          @Nancy There is no question that making it from scratch is the best. :)

        • Brite-Ideas profile image

          Barbara Tremblay Cipak 2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

          added to my food board, these chicken soup recipes look and sound great!

        • smine27 profile image

          Shinichi Mine 2 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

          You know, I've never had matzo balls before and I feel like I am missing out. Must try them sometime.

        • Paula Atwell profile image

          Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

          @Brite It's the season. :)

        • Paula Atwell profile image

          Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

          @smine When they are made right, they are fluffy, delicious and light and airy. When they are made wrong they are hard as rocks. Just an FYI. :)

        • TreasuresBrenda profile image

          Treasures By Brenda 2 years ago from Canada

          Your Tortilla Soup recipe looks yummy, Paula!

        • Paula Atwell profile image

          Paula Atwell 2 years ago from Cleveland, OH

          @Brenda Thanks. It is just about soup weather now.

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