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Fresh Vegetable Soup with Chicken and Noodles

September 30, 2009

As a wedding shower present, my sister-in-law supplied me with a Jewish recipe book.  Now, after 3 years of marriage, I finally decided to take the plunge and try some recipes.  The following recipe is from the Yom Kippur section of Jewish Holiday Feasts by Louise Fiszer and Jeannette Ferrary.  It is a hearty soup that truly eats like a meal.  It serves 10-12 people, so if you are making this for a small group, be prepared to freeze some for a later meal.

Fresh Vegetable Soup with Chicken and Noodles

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

1 leek, white part only, chopped (To clean the leek, put the chopped pieces in a bowl of cool water and swish.  The leeks will rise to the top and all of the sand and dirt will fall to the bottom.  Its foolproof!)

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 large carrot, diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 small fennel bulb, chopped

1/2 head cabbage, chopped

4 plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced (The zucchini at the store were mammoth so I used only one here)

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 cup chopped parsley

6 cups chicken broth (I used homemade broth, see previous post, Simple Chicken Stock)

3 cups water

8 oz. fine egg noodles

3 whole boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips (The original recipe does not specify if the chicken should be cooked first or not.  I decided to pre-cook the chicken and it was a good decision)

Salt and pepper

1.) In a LARGE pot (seriously, large.  I had to use the biggest pot I own) , heat the oil over medium heat.  Cook the onion, leek, celery, carrot, red pepper, fennel, and cabbage until barely tender, about 8 minutes.

2.) Stir in tomatoes, zucchini, oregano, and parsley.  Cook until bubbly, about 2 minutes.

3.) Add broth and water and simmer 20 minutes.  Add noodles and chicken and simmer 10 minutes.

4.) Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cool and refrigerate.  Just before serving, reheat and taste again for salt.  Serve hot.

This recipe seems very ingredient heavy, but all of the vegetables contributed to make the soup have a very deep flavor profile.  I suppose the soup could be served the day it is made, but the idea is to prepare the meal the day before the holiday because if you were celebrating the holiday, you would typically be fasting all day, attending temple, and otherwise obtaining from work.  Out of curiosity, I tasted the soup both the day it was made and the following day, and the time overnight really did improve the soup and allow all of the flavors to come together.  I think the soup could also be made early in the day and then allowed to sit for a few hours before serving.

In addition to this recipe, I also served another dish from the same cookbook.  I was delighted to find that the directions for both dishes were spot on, all of the times and quantities were perfect and really needed no tweaking.  For example, I was worried that the noodles in the soup would suck up all of the broth overnight and I would be forced to add more the following day.  However, to my pleasant surprise, when I re-heated the soup, there was just the right amount of broth.  I believe this soup is going to become a family favorite in the Lubchansky household!

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