What is a Balaboosta?
Balaboosta (n.)(bah-lah-b00-sta) A Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook, and gracious hostess. She does it all and does it well.
I make simple food with easy recipes and I like to try new things. My family and friends love my cooking and always ask me to share, with them, what I know about food, flavor, and technique.

I'm not a professional chef and I've had no formal culinary training. What I know and do in the kitchen comes from three women...Nana, Grandma Della, and Rose, my mom. Each one of them knew more about putting a meal on the table than any fancy chef in a white hat. They were the ultimate Balaboostas.

What I offer you is a lifetime of experience in the kitchen with my compliments and theirs. I hope they'd be proud. I will bring you my recipes as I make them with photos of the actual food I'm preparing. I'm no professional photographer either but I promise, my food will speak for itself in every picture.

The food on my table isn't stacked in a trendy tower.
Instead, my food is stacked with flavor and full of my passion for cooking. So please come in, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy.

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Disclaimer: While most of my recipes are "Jewish Style", I do sometimes cook with pork. This might have been a great disappointment to some but my grandmothers knew that I live in modern world. I light Shabbos candles religiously but I have to admit...I do not keep a Kosher home.

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Jewish Penicillin - My Grandma's Chicken Soup

Grandma Della was a remarkable woman for many reasons. She lived to the ripe old age of 104. That's remarkable enough, right? She grew up in a little village (shtetl) outside of Kiev in Russia. She met her husband on her wedding day. Marriages were arranged at that time. Czar Nicholas was in power and life was dangerous when they fled to the United States. She got off the boat at Ellis Island in New York and began a new life in the new world. She worked in a factory during World War I sewing buttons on army uniforms. She owned candy stores and worked her fingers to the bone to raise her three children after losing her husband at an early age.I was her youngest grandchild. After we moved to Florida in 1959, Grandma would come to visit each year for 2 months and would stay, part of the time with us and part of the time at a hotel on Miami Beach with her lady friends. This visit always included being with us for Passover. I became my Grandma's assistant in the kitchen and she taught me everything she knew about cooking. She always said..."Put love in everything you make. If you do that, your food will be delicious". She left me, and all of us, with so many wonderful memories and recipes full of love and I want to share them with you. I'll start with Chicken Soup. As I'm sure you've heard...a bowl of this 'Jewish Penicillin' can help cure whatever is wrong with you.If you follow my instructions you can't go wrong. This is how it was told to me....Please realize that Grandma didn't measure anything...it was a little of this and a little of that. I cook like she did but I'll try to assign some numbers to this to help you. Please also remember that you need to make this soup the day before you want to eat it. It needs time to cool in the fridge so the fat can be skimmed off the top before you serve. This generally takes overnight.

Ingredients...

  • Water - enough to cover chicken and then some. Use cold tap water.
  • Chicken - Six to 9 quarters depending on how much soup you want to make. You can use a whole chicken or just drumsticks for a less fatty soup. Whatever is on sale!
  • Onions, 3 medium
  • Carrots - 1 cup of either baby carrots (easy) or cut pieces from large carrots that you have to wash and peeled.
  • Parsnip - a large one (looks like a white carrot), cut the ends off and use the peeler to clean it.
  • Celery Stalks - 3 or 4 washed and the ends trimmed.
  • Fresh Dill - 1/2 bunch
  • Fresh Parsley 1/2 bunch (curled or flat) Wash both the dill and parsley in a large bowl or sink at least 3 times with cold water. You can let it soak for a few minutes which will help any grit to fall off. There's nothing worse than grit in chicken soup so do a good job. I like to use kitchen string and I tied the dill and parsley together in a tight bundle. I cook it that way and then it's easy to take it out when the soup is done.
  • Salt - 2 teaspoons.
  • Chicken bouillon - 2 tablespoons - powdered or cube instant type in place of any additional salt to flavor.
Here's how you do it...

Use a big pot that has a lid. If you don't have a lid, you can use foil when you need it.

Wash the chicken, pull off any unnecessary fat that the butcher left on to weigh it down.
  1. Put the washed chicken pieces in the bottom of the pot.
  2. Add COLD water to cover the chicken and then some.
  3. Toss in the 2 teaspoons of salt.
  4. Heat on high until it starts to boil.
  5. Turn the heat down a bit so it doesn't boil over and stand there with it.
  6. A foamy scum will start to float. Use a slotted spoon to remove it.
  7. Repeat this until you don't see any more coming up.
  8. Now cover the pot and turn the heat to low so that it continues to simmer for 1 1/2 hrs.
  9. You'll know your chicken is done when all you have to do is touch the skin with your spoon and the skin breaks.
  10. At this point you can remove the chicken into a bowl pouring back into the pot any soup that escaped.
  11. Cover the bowl of chicken and set aside.
  12. Using a hand held fine sieve (strainer) scoop through the liquid to remove any chicken pieces or debris that might have broken away during the long boil. This is when you will stir in the two tablespoons of powdered chicken bouillon.
  13. Gently lower the onions, carrots, parsnip, celery, and bundled dill/parsley into the hot broth.
  14. Return to a boil, cover, lower the heat to low to keep it simmering for another 1 to 1.5 hrs.
When the veggies are done I take out the greens only, and drain the liquid that clings to them back into the pot.

Let it cool for a while and then put it in the fridge. You can turn the pot lid upside down to help it fit.

Tomorrow you will skim the fat, heat, and serve.

You can warm the cooked chicken right in the soup as you reheat it. Some people like chicken IN their soup. We like to eat the chicken separately and we make little egg noodles (pick your favorite) to serve with it. That's it. That's all there is to it. If you make this soup for people you care for and for the right reasons they will be able to taste the love with every spoonful.

Hint: I make huge pots of this soup and freeze portions in zip top sandwich bags flat on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, of course, transfer them to a larger freezer bag and put the cookie sheet away. You'll have soup at a moments notice and you appreciate it every time. I always make sure to leave the freezer full when I have to travel and leave my love at home so there's always a meal.

5 comments:

My Free Recipes said...

I love your Jewish chicken soup story and recipe. I'm busy making some right at this time. Thank you

Anonymous said...

This is EXACTLY the soup my mother and grandmother make. This was (and still is) my most comforting childhood memory. I was so thrilled to find this. The only difference is that they added turnips and left some chopped dill in. Thrilled this is online to share with the world!

Anonymous said...

When freezing extra portions, do I leave
the veggies in and freeze them too?
I am on a very strict diet and can eat as
much of this soup as I want!!! I'll eat the
chicken in moderation and add noodles for
my daughter who LOVES chicken soup..
THANKS sooo much <3

The Balaboosta said...

Dear Anonymous... Thank you for your question. Yes, freeze portions of the veggies in each baggie with the portion of broth. I prepare the noodles and freeze one bowl portions in baggies as well. Good luck with your strict diet. I'm familiar with that struggle. It makes me feel good that I've given you a delicious idea to help you succeed! Thanks again. The Balaboosta

siddiqa said...

will be making your chicken soup today and for once i am so excited about making a soup cuz i always have either too little or too much salt and having your recipe guide, i am very excited!