It's not your mother's chicken soup (because it's mine) by: Rachel olefson

Every year for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, families celebrate with a few different staple foods. Gefilte fish, brisket, and of course, my mom's famous chicken soup come to mind when I think of the holidays. Even though the recipe is time-consuming, it brings along amazing quality time with some of my favorite family memories, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

The cook time for this recipe is about three to four hours. You will need:

  1. 12 lbs of bone-in kosher chicken
  2. 15 carrots
  3. Four small (or two large) onions
  4. Four turnips
  5. Fresh dill
  6. 12 turnips
  7. Soup socks (optional)
For this recipe, you will need onions, carrots, celery, turnips, parsnips (white carrots, as my mom calls them), dill and about 12 pounds of chicken. A newer addition to this recipe is the use of soup socks, which make it easier to take out the ingredients that aren't going to stay in the soup when you serve it.
First, fill a large soup pot with about 12 pounds of bone-in kosher chicken. My mom likes to use kosher chickens because they are pre-salted and she thinks they taste better, but to each their own. Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the chicken or else the soup will be watered down. Move the pot to the stove and turn the heat on high. Then, start chopping your vegetables as you wait for the pot to come to a boil.
Everyone in my family is a big fan of a good soup carrot. When it comes to carrots, Mom says the more the better, because they are the only vegetable that stay in the soup when served. Peel and chop about 15 whole carrots into two to three-inch pieces. As far as soup science goes, Mom says there is no need to measure, just roughly chop the carrots into large pieces.
One of my mom's tricks here is the dill, which she refers to as her secret ingredient. In this recipe, you can never have too much dill. Chop off the ends of your dill and put them into their own soup sock, tying a knot at the end.
Next, roughly chop parsnips ("white carrots") and celery. These will be taken out later and discarded, so a rough chop will do. Then, place them into a soup sock and tie the bag off.
Finishing up with the vegetables, chop about three turnips into quarters, making sure to cut off the bulb. Peel about two large or four small onions and chop the same way. Then place them into a soup sock and tie it off.
When the chicken has come to a boil, use a skimmer to remove the scum (aka the "little white blobs of fat", according to my mom) from the pot. Pictured above is the before and after of this process, which only takes a minute or two but makes all the difference in the texture of your soup.
Once the pot you set on the stove earlier comes to a boil, put your vegetables in. The carrots can go right into the water, and the soup sock vegetables will stay in their bags. Leave this covered on low heat for about three hours, checking it every hour until then.
After about three hours, your soup should look something like the picture on the left. Remove and shred about half of the chicken (in my house, we like to snack on the rest as our reward for being so patient) as well as all of the carrots. Discard your soup socks and strain your soup. Make sure to have a container below the strainer, or else all the labor you just did was for nothing! Then, put the chicken into the soup container. My mom normally makes her soup about a week before Rosh Hashanah, so we like to strain the soup straight into the Tupperware we will be freezing it in, keeping in mind that the soup will expand as it is frozen.
And voila! You've just become the most popular yenta on the block. But now that I've given away my family's most coveted recipe, I expect a taste if any of you end up making this!