I've tried many ways of making chicken soup over the years and while they were all good they weren't fantastic I was always looking for something else. This started as a research project into Depression Era cooking. One of things that Herbert Hoover promised as president was "A chicken in every pot" and there's a reason for this, chicken was expensive, especially young chickens. Chickens were kept for laying eggs and after 5 years when they stopped laying that's when they ended up as dinner.
The only problem with this is 5 year old chickens aren't really fit for roasting so they were boiled instead. Chicken soup then wasn't what we think of today with shredded chicken in the soup and noodles, etc. It was more of a 1 pot meal. The chicken was simmered and served on the side with the soup and some dumplings or egg noodles. Now in this case I decided to borrow from family history to come up with a recipe for our times. When my dad was growing up, he told me, his parents would visit a farm every Sunday and buy a chicken, eggs and milk then they would make this soup and serve it as above.
At first glance the recipe seems complicated but really isn't, you just need some time and good ingredients. Traditionally it's served with liver dumplings, but I prefer matzo balls as they're easy to make, or you can also add egg noodles to the broth.
Hungarian Chicken Soup
1 3-4lb Chicken (I use organic when I can get it)
1 White Onion, roughly chopped
1 Leek, white part rinsed and sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed
3 Carrots, sliced
1/2 Celery Root, peeled and diced
2 Springs Italian Parsley
2 Small Potatoes, cut in half
3 Allspice Berries
3 Whole Cloves
2 Bay Leaves
2tsp Pepper, ground
Pinch (1/8tsp) Cayenne Pepper
In a large pot add 3T fat, what you use is up to you, but it's traditional to use bacon grease here. Heat fat and add onions, don't stir and let the onions get well browned. Add the rest of the vegetables, except parsley, and the spices and stir. Let cook for 5 mins stirring occasionally. Wash your chicken and rub it well with salt, massaging inside and out then rinse well. Place parsley on top of vegetables in pot and place chicken on top. Add water to cover the chicken and loosely cover the pot. Bring the soup to boiling then reduce heat to simmer and allow to simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours until chicken is fork tender. If you're cooking matzo balls, remove chicken from pot, cover and set aside. Drop matzo balls into broth and cook according to recipe. Serve chicken with Horseradish Sour Cream and soup with matzo balls.
Horseradish Sour Cream
1C Sour Cream
1tsp Grated Horseradish (use a really good brand that's fresh and HOT)
1 pinch dill
Mix together and let rest covered in the fridge for 1 hour before using.