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. john sutcliffe

    no ginger? I thought this was essential but terrific recipe.

    • Fiona Nevile

      I have a more traditional recipe that I will post soon. It also doesn’t have ginger. Good idea – I must try it with ginger!

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