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Israeli Chicken Soup with Pasta

This is a slightly simplied form of a lemon-flavored chicken soup, popular in the North African communities of Israel. The Algerians prefer it mild, while the Tunisians add enough hot red pepper to burn the roof off your mouth. This is the milder version, but you can add more chili pepper to your liking. (Chicken is usually sold in pieces in Israel because so many Israelis do not have baking ovens and cannot roast whole chickens.)

ingredients

serves 6 to 8
1 large chicken, about 3 pounds, cut in 8 serving pieces
salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, sliced
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
2 white turnips, quartered
2 carrots, sliced lengthwise
2 quarts water
1/2 lemon, seeds removed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
2 cups Farfel (recipe page 52) ****
parsley sprigs
lemon wedges

method

1. Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole over medium heat, and saute the chicken pieces and onions until the chicken flesh is firm and the onions transparent. This will take about 10 minutes.

2. Add the vegetables and water and bring to a boil. Squeeze the lemon into the liquid, then drop the squeezed lemon half into the soup. Add the turmeric and chili powder and cover pot. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the chicken is tender.

3. Add the pasta to the soup and simmer another 5 minutes. Serve soup with the chicken pieces, or, alternately, remove the chicken from the pot and serve it separately as a main course. To serve soup, ladle it into warmed, individual bowls and garnish with parsley sprigs. Serve lemon wedges separately so diners can squeeze the lemon into the soup.

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