Citizens! This is a recipe that I was seriously debating never to share – it is the ultimate chicken soup, rich and redolent of the essence of not one, not two, but *3* different kinds of poultry to give it unmatched flavor! Everyone who has tried it has swooned, and after much soul-searching, I have decided the time is at last right to unveil this recipe of divine inspiration! 🙂
Since I am something of a Chinese cuisine scholar, I wanted to create a chicken soup with superb taste fusing Jewish and Chinese elements to create the ultimate soup! Jewish “bubbes” (grandmothers in Yiddish) traditionally made their version of the recipe by boiling the chicken in chicken stock, not water! This made it a “double fowler” stock, with the essence of two birds – but I went one better!
My chicken soup recipe uses a chicken plus two secret birds from the Chinese repertoire – a duck (which adds more taste than you can possibly imagine) and a Chinese Black Chicken, called a Silkie. A Silkie can be easily purchased at any Chinese grocery store such as the “Ranch 99” chain of markets, as can the duck. Should you prefer, just use two extra chickens in place of these birds if you are so inclined – but the taste result using them is simply unmatched in my triple-fowler extravaganza!
Silkie’s were always used for chicken soups that were medicinal – used to heal someone from a severe illness. The skin, meat and bones of the Silkie are bluish-black, but fear not Citizens – you will not be using the meat from the Silkie in the final soup, just the shredded chicken and duck. Using a Silkie will also not turn the stock black or dark – it makes a normal-colored broth, never fear!
All Silkies have black or bluish skin, bones and grayish-black meat; their Chinese language name is wu gu ji (烏骨雞), meaning ‘black-boned chicken’. Melanism which extends beyond the skin into an animal’s connective tissue is a rare trait, and in chickens it is caused by fibromelanosis, which is a rare mutation believed to have begun in Asia. The Silkie and several other breeds descended from Asian stock possess the mutation. Disregarding color, the breed does not generally produce as much as the more common meat breeds of chicken.
As early as the 7th century, traditional Chinese medicine has held that chicken soup made with Silkie meat is a curative food. The usual methods of cooking include using Silkie to make broth, braising, and in curries. Traditional Chinese soup made with Silkie also uses ingredients such as wolfberries, Dioscorea polystachya (mountain yam), orange peel, and fresh ginger. A few fusion restaurants in metropolitan areas of the West have also cooked it as a part of traditional American or French cuisine, such as in confit.
It goes without saying that you should try and obtain whole birds – including the very important feet, which add body to the soup (as do the wings). You don’t want to add the feet of the duck and if you can’t obtain the chicken feet, don’t sweat it. Just know that if you CAN (and all Chinese grocers sell them that way), you’re in for the best of all possible soups!
Now, as to the matzo balls – Jews fall into two camps. The poor misguided souls who prefer fluffy matzo balls and those possessed of unmatched good taste who prefer “sinkers”, which are more dense. You know what camp I fall into, but if you prefer fluffy – by all means go that route. I won’t hold it against you. 😉
Citizens – this is truly the ultimate chicken soup to get your Jewish groove on – or your Chinese groove, or simply when you just need a bowl of the most healing and delicious chicken soup this side of heaven. You will NOT be disappointed!
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
The Hirshon ‘Triple Fowler’ Chicken Soup And Matzo Balls
- Total Time: 0 hours
- For the stock:
- Bottled Water
- 1 large chicken, head and feet (preferably a “Long Kong” bird – the finest of Chinese chicken as they are free-range and delicious!) – head discarded, chopped into several pieces (your butcher can do this for you)
- 1 medium duck, chopped into pieces, innards, head and feet removed
- 1 black chicken (silkie in Chinese) – chopped into pieces (available at Ranch 99), discard head, keep the feet
- 1 whole onion, unpeeled, halved and with 2 cloves stuck in each half
- 2 leeks, white and light green part only, chopped
- 2 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 parsley root (Petrushka) – this is optional, but strongly recommended by my Bubbie
- 1/2 cup chopped celery leaves plus 2 stalks celery and their leaves
- 1 rutabaga, peeled and quartered
- 1 large turnip, peeled and quartered
- 3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 bunch thyme
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 tomato, quartered
- 1 bottom half of one stalk of lemongrass, lightly pounded
- 2 quarter-sized pieces of ginger, lightly smashed
- 20 black peppercorns
- 4 large cloves garlic, unpeeled and halved
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 whole allspice berries
- For the soup:
- 2 carrots, shredded
- fresh dill
- matzo balls
- some of the meat from the chicken and duck, to taste
- For “Floater” matzo balls:
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons melted poultry fat from the soup (strongly preferred) or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup seltzer or club soda (preferred), or chicken broth
- 1 cup matzo meal
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- For “Sinker” matzo balls (if you prefer them over floaters, as I do):
- 1/4 cup melted poultry fat from the soup (strongly preferred) or vegetable oil
- 6 extra large egg whites or 1 cup pareve egg substitute
- 2 tsp. mixed dried herbs of your choice
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- generous pinch black pepper
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 cups matzo meal
- Put the water/broth and the poultry in a large pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Make sure all the poultry is covered – add water or broth to cover, if needed. Skim off all the froth. Turn down the heat.
- Add everything else and let simmer 2 hours. SIMMER – NOT BOIL – SIMMER!
- Strain, remove the chicken, discard the vegetables and refrigerate the stock to solidify the fat. For God’s sake – SAVE THE FAT and use it in the matzo balls, stir-fries, spread on crackers, etc. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and duck and shred the meat. Put some back into the soup and use the rest for sherried poultry salad (a personal favorite of mine). Discard the Silkie.
- Just before serving, reheat the soup. Bring to a boil. Cut the 2 carrots into thin strips and add to the soup. Simmer about 15 minute or until the carrots are cooked, but still firm. Serve with snipped dill and matzo balls. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
- If using the “floater” Matzo Balls:
- Mix the eggs well with a fork. Add the chicken fat or oil, soda water, matzo meal, and salt and pepper and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
- Dip your hands in cold water and make about 12 balls slightly smaller than Ping-Pong balls.
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and place the matzo balls in the water. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until soft.
- If you’re showing real taste and going for the matzo balls that sink:
- Beat the eggs and oil together with a fork until well blended. Beat in the herbs and add the water. Add the matzo meal and blend well. Press plastic wrap against the top of the mixture and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Reduce heat slightly and, using wet hands, form matzo balls and gently drop them into the water. Keep wetting hands to prevent sticking. Cover the pot with a tilted lid so that some steam escapes. Cook for 30-40 minutes.
- Prep Time: 0 hours
- Cook Time: 0 hours
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