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Jewish Recipes --> Jewish and Israeli Foods --> Kosher Chicken and Soup

Chickens as food -- to be kosher it must be slaughtered according to Jewish Law.

For a quality shechita to be successful it is imperative to have a staff of shochtim and mashgichim who are true yirei shomayim and experts in their field. A shochet's job requires him to be extremely sensitive to detail work, to be a master at his craft, to have the presence of mind to be as sharp as his chalef, shechita knife, to have the skill and confidence to make sure that all aspects of the "maase shechita", technical and halachic, are done properly, "k'dos uchedin" and to give care and concern that the whole operation will go smoothly and efficiently.

see: Reliable Kosher Symbols

Chickens serve as one of the most common meats in the world, and are frequently prepared as food in a large number of ways. There is significant variation in cooking methods amongst cultures; historically common methods include roasting, baking, and frying. Today, chickens are also cooked by deep frying and prepared as fast food such as chicken nuggets. Modern varieties of chicken, such as the Cornish Cross, are bred specifically for meat production, with an emphasis placed on the ratio of feed to meat produced by the animal.

Chickens raised specifically for meat are called broilers. In the United States, broilers are typically butchered at a young age. Modern Cornish Cross hybrids, for example, are butchered as early as 8 weeks for fryers and 12 weeks for roasting birds. Typically, the muscle tissue (breast, legs, thigh, etc), livers, and gizzard are processed for food. Chicken feet are less commonly eaten. The head, internal organs such as the lungs and intestines, and feathers are typically discarded or ground into a protein meal for inclusion in other animal feeds, although Chinese cuisines may retain the whole bird on the dish (with the head), depending on the dish.

Capons (castrated cocks) produce more and fattier meat than normal cocks. For this reason, they are considered a delicacy and were particularly popular in the Middle Ages. Caponizing a cock, unlike castrating a steer, requires delicate surgery and is an art almost lost today. The cock's testicles lie within its body cavity. To remove them requires special equipment and skill.

The person caponizing the rooster must make precise and specialized cuts within the abdomen of the rooster. Infection and potential damage to the bird are possible should an unskilled individual perform the surgery.

Chicken eggs, produced by pullets and laying hens, are also very commonly eaten. The chicken egg is the most commonly eaten bird egg in the world. Hens may lay fertile or infertile eggs. Hens will continue to lay even if a rooster is not present, though these will not be viable. There is no difference in the nutritional value between a fertilized and unfertilized egg. Modern breeding techniques focusing on feed-to-egg conversion ratios have increased the number of eggs a hen can lay. Modern egg chickens are typically derived from the early Leghorn varieties. When the egg is laid, the egg is not soft but has a hard shell. This shell protects the egg's contents, making it a food source that is easily transported and stored. Nutritionally, the egg provides a rich source of protein and vitamins. Recent concerns over cholesterol, however, have caused many to question the place of eggs in the human diet.

Some chicken breeds are raised for both meat and egg production. Typically heavy breeds, these are primarily grown by small farmers or hobbyists. These include breeds such as the Wyandotte, Brahma, or Barred Rock.

Chicken soup is a soup made by boiling chicken parts or bones in water, with various vegetables and flavorings. The classic chicken soup consists of a clear broth, often served with small pieces of chicken or vegetables, or with noodles or dumplings, or grains such as rice and barley. Chicken soup has also acquired the reputation of a folk remedy for colds and flus, and in the United States is considered a classic comfort food.

Lokshen soup is a chicken soup made primarily from chicken and noodles - usually egg vermicelli.

It often includes celery, carrots and onion.

It is a traditional Jewish dish.

When made by observant Jews, it is made using Kosher chicken to observe the rules of kashrut.

Family variations

As with many traditional dishes, the preparation varies depending on the cultural background of the cook.

Variations can include pieces of whole chicken in the soup, serving the soup as a chicken and vegetable broth, and the inclusion of knaydlach (matzah balls).

Several terms are sometimes confused when referring to chicken soup or chicken soups. The following is an attempt to clarify the terminology:

  • Chicken Stock is a liquid in which chicken and vegetables have been boiled for the purpose of serving as an ingredient in more complex dishes. Chicken stock is not usually served as is. Stock can be made with less palatable parts of the chicken, such as feet, necks or bones: the higher bone content in these parts contributes more gelatin to the liquid, making it a better base for sauces. Stock can be reboiled and reused as the basis for a new stock.
  • Chicken Broth is the liquid part of chicken soup. Broth can be served as is, or used as stock, or served as soup with noodles. Broth can be milder than stock, does not need to be boiled as long, and can be made with meatier chicken parts.
  • Chicken Bouillon or Bouillon de Poule is basically French for chicken broth. Bouillon cubes are often used nowadays instead of specially prepared chicken stock.
  • Chicken Consommé is a more refined chicken broth. It is usually strained to perfect clarity, and reduced so as to give a concentrated essence of the broth flavor.
  • While any soup in which chicken has been boiled or with a chicken stock base is, strictly speaking, a chicken soup, the term Chicken Soup, unless qualified, implies that the soup is served as a thin broth with pieces of meat, vegetables or noodles.

Chicken noodle soup

Noodles are a common garnish for chicken soup, and in the United States this soup is referred to as "chicken noodle soup". The term may have been coined in a commercial for Campbell's soup in the 1930's. The original 21 varieties of Campbell's condensed soup featured a "chicken soup with noodles", but when it was advertised on the "Amos & Andy" radio show in the 1930s, by a slip of the lip, the soup was referred to as "Chicken Noodle Soup." Campbell's then changed the name of their commercial brand. "Chicken Noodle Soup" is consistently one of the bestselling varieties of Campbell's soup.

Curative powers

According to food historians, chicken soup was already being prescribed as a cure for the common cold in Ancient Egypt. The 10th century Persian physician Avicenna also referred to the curative powers of chicken soup in his writings. In the 12th century the Jewish sage Maimonides wrote that chicken soup "has virtue in rectifying corrupted humors", and recommended it as nutrition for convalescents; Maimonides also particularly recommended chicken soup for people suffering from hemorrhoids and the early stages of leprosy.

In modern medicine, research conducted by Dr. Stephen Rennard, professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine, and his colleagues at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, suggests that there might be some scientific basis for the curative powers of chicken soup. They found that the particular blend of nutrients and vitamins in traditional chicken soup can slow the activity of certain white blood cells. This may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could hypothetically lead to temporary ease from symptoms of illness. Their research was published in 2000 in the scientific journal Chest (volume 118, pages 1150-1157: "Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro"). This was not, however, a controlled test, and did not demonstrate that chicken soup was the best foodstuff for this purpose.

Because it is simple to prepare, relatively cheap, nutritious, and easy on the digestive system, chicken soup is a good food for winter convalescents. Probably more significant, sipping warm soup can clear nasal passages, serving as a natural decongestant, which also relieves cold and flu symptoms. Last but not least, chicken soup can be beneficial due to the placebo effect of comfort foods.

Jewish Cooking - Chicken Soup

The soup is often associated with European Jewish cuisine, in which chicken soup is the basis for several traditional holiday courses, such as chicken soup with matzah balls for Passover. Although poverty was rampant in the shtetl, chicken-raising required little land or financial investment[1]. Every Jewish family would try to acquire at least one chicken in honor of the Shabbat meals, and would try to stretch it as far as it would go. Thus, every part of the chicken was used, leading to the creation of such dishes as p'tcha (chicken feet), pupiks (roasted gizzards), chopped liver (chicken liver), stuffed hezel (chicken neck), and schmaltz and greben (chicken fat and cracklings made from the fat and the skins). Chicken soup also proved to be a "recyclable" dish. Parts of the chicken—especially the breasts, which produce a more delicate flavor during the boiling process—were boiled as chicken soup and then reused afterwards in such dishes as kreplach, knishes, and blintzes. Tortelloni-like Kreplach are traditionally added to the soup on the eve of Yom Kippur. Lokshen (flat egg noodles) are also a favorite Jewish addition to chicken soup. A lesser known garnish is unlaid chicken eggs, removed from the ovaries of a laying chicken. Herbs traditionally served with Jewish chicken soup are parsley and dill.

Chicken soup is sometimes referred to as "Jewish penicillin".


The flavor of the chicken in chicken soup is most potent when the chicken is boiled in water with salt and only a few vegetables, such as onion, carrots, and celery. For a more vegetable-tasting dish, add root vegetables (such as parsnip, celery and parsley), zucchini, sweet potato, whole garlic cloves or tomatoes. Soup should be brought to a boil and then simmered in a covered pot on a very low flame for one to three hours, adding water if necessary. Seasonings such as black pepper can be added, as well as fresh herbs such as parsley. A clearer broth is achieved by skimming the yellowish scum off the top of the soup as it is cooking; the broth can be further clarified by straining it through a strainer or cloth. Saffron or turmeric is sometimes added as a yellow colorant.

Chicken soup can be a relatively low fat food: fat can be removed by chilling the soup after cooking and skimming the layer of congealed fat from the top. The nutritional value of chicken soup can be boosted by adding turkey meat to chicken soup recipes: turkey is a richer source of iron. Research has also shown that the longer the cooking time of soups containing meat and bones, the higher the calcium content of the soup.

Cooking Tips:   Tips for Chicken on the BBQ

Summer is BBQ season – most of us can’t get enough of it! Chicken on the BBQ is fast and easy to prepare, especially if you follow a few simple tips.

  • Always use medium heat for barbecuing chicken
  • Keep the lid down so you get even heat.
  • To prevent flare-ups, put an aluminum foil pan under the grill to catch drips.
  • To prevent the skin from bubbling, prick before grilling.
  • To prevent chicken from burning, start grilling with the bone side down.
  • Brush glazes or sauces on halfway through to prevent the chicken from burning before it is fully cooked. Turn and baste frequently.
  • Marinate chicken in the fridge (NOT at room temperature). 
  • Use separate plates, containers and utensils for raw and cooked chicken.  Use fresh tongs to remove the cooked chicken from the BBQ and put it on a clean plate.
  • Defrost chicken either: in the refrigerator (wrapped); in several changes of cold water (wrapped); or on the defrost setting in the microwave (loosely covered and turned often).

Sept 2005 - 2014 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods- Jewish Foods
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bagels.