The Cottage Smallholder

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Dr Quito’s Jewish Chicken Soup recipe. A cure all.

chicken soupI’m always reading that someone somewhere has proved that Jewish Chicken soup is a natural cure for colds, flu, fevers and even the blues. A few years ago I decided that it had to be part of our repertoire.

The best Jewish chicken soup recipes are often carefully guarded family secrets, handed down through generations. We refused to be knocked back by this. We tried a few recipes, identified what worked for us and started to experiment. Our goal was to create a soup that would appeal equally to an invalid and a super fit trapeze artist. We wanted a tempting, nutritious meal in a bowl. True comfort food.

Our soup freezes well. We make it in large batches so that we always have a supply if one of us gets a bug and enough to give away to a friend confined to bed. We are very lucky as our butcher (Fred Fitzpatrick, Exning Road, Newmarket) supplies us with free chicken carcasses. These are free range and left over from supplying local restaurants and pubs with chicken portions. He hates throwing them away. We love being given them. Everyone’s happy. They have loads of meat on them. Enough to make this soup.

We discovered that the secret is in the stock. Always use uncooked bones. This recipe is named after our senior dog who heroically ate all failed attempts without complaint.


  • 1 fresh free range chicken cut into portions (or three fresh free range chicken carcasses from Fred’s – roughly chopped into four portions per bird)
  • 5 pints of water with 1 teaspoon of Marigold stock powder and 2 chicken stock cubes (or five pints of homemade chicken stock*)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic (chopped fine)
  • 4 celery stalks chopped into 1 cm lengths
  • 650g of carrots chopped
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoonful of decent dried herbs (we use Provencal as these are really tangy)
  • A large handful of egg vermicelli (or any tiny pasta for soup)
  • Large handful of fresh chopped herbs


  1. In a large saucepan sweat the chopped onion over a low heat in the olive oil for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped garlic and sweat for a further five minutes.
  2. Add the chicken pieces, celery, peppercorns and Provencal herbs and cover with a) the water, stock cubes and marigold powder or b) the homemade chicken stock.
  3. Simmer gently for an hour or so, until the chicken is tender. If you are using chicken carcasses only simmer for half an hour. Remove the chicken (a slotted spoon is best) and strip the meat from the bones (this meat will be added to the soup later).
  4. Return the larger bones to the saucepan and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Remove the bones and leave the soup to cool down before putting it in the fridge overnight.
  5. The next day remove the fat – it will have travelled to the surface and discard before bringing the stock to the boil, adding the carrots and vermicelli.
  6. Five minutes before serving, add the chicken pieces and the chopped fresh herbs. Season to taste.
  7. Serve and stand back to prepare for applause.

  Leave a reply


  1. Hi,
    I would like to try making this but can you tell me, when you freeze the soup, does mit have the chicken pieces in it- or are they frozen seperately. I’m new to cooking!

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Steve

    Thanks for the update!

    It does work. Makes you feel better and is the perfect food for someone laid up in bed or generally feeling under the weather.

    Works well with people enjoying robust health too!

  3. Steve Clark

    It received exactly the tumult it deserved. Thank you!

  4. Steve Clark

    Thank you so much. I’ll let you know if it receives the rapturous reception I believe it deserves…

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Steve

    Lid on and a very gentle simmer.

  6. Steve Clark

    Nice sounding recipe – I’m following it right now! Are steps 3 and 4 with the lid on, or off?

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Gemma

    Adding pulses is a great tip. Thanks!

  8. Superb! I love chicken soup. My step-dad adds a cup or two of mixed pulses to his Jewish Chicken Soup – yum. I might have a word with our local butcher and see if they have any chicken carcasses going spare – good tip! Thanks.

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Wendy

    We just have one fish soup recipe – it’s here a great soup for a cold day.

  10. Wendy(I like cooking) Mofley

    Nice chicken soup!Do you have any other recipes for fish sharing with me?Thanks in advance!

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