One rare perk of living during a pandemic is that, thanks to all of wearing a mask and keeping my distance, I’ve avoided my usual winter cold. This has completely changed my habit of eating chicken soup.
Normally, I would brew a jar of Jewish penicillin at the first sign of a sore throat. Whole garlic, celery, carrots and noodles are simmered until soft and slippery enough to not require chewing; that was the consolation of a pure childhood for me. My family has been seen through countless sniffles and bouts of bronchitis. Whenever I feel rotten, no other soup will do.
The most minimalistic recipes call for a rich chicken broth topped with slices of leeks and casseroles, without too many sprigs of parsley or carrot slices to garnish the bowl. More elaborate incarnations include beef or meat broth, rice or oatmeal, and – a typical medieval food supplement – prunes or raisins.
Writing in the early 19th century, under the pseudonym Margaret Dods, Christian Isobel Johnstone has a turkey recipe in “Handbook of cooking and housework“Includes capon, beef shank, optional oatmeal and plenty of leeks,”boil into the soup until it becomes a green colored compound. “
But she omits the dried fruit, calling it old-fashioned.
In my version, I kept the diced prunes, for a lovely sweetness, but mixed in the beef, which seems like overkill when you already have a chicken in the pot.
However, breaking with tradition, I also sauteed the garlic, celery and carrots. It pushes the broth a little closer to my beloved Jewish penicillin, but doesn’t obscure the leeks, chicken, and prunes. Warm, hearty and very satisfying, it’s sure to cure any of your ailments, whether physical or mental.
Cooking recipe: Cock-a-Leekie Soup (Scotland-style Chicken and Garlic Soup)
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/dining/scottish-cock-a-leekie-soup.html A Cure-All Scotland Chicken Soup