With Leora Septimus-Chait
That one spicy Jalapeño keeps coming around and I push it away halfheartedly. I savor juicy pieces of chicken. Enjoy the soft potatoes and chopped onions bathing in thyme. Try a spoonful of just the broth. I can’t help but grin. It doesn’t matter that it’s 2 in the morning and way too late to be eating. That I’ll have to brush my teeth AGAIN. That everyone is asleep and it’s just me in the kitchen with my leg up on a chair eating soup. Carpe Diem!
I’ve probably visited close to 100 families for shabbat over the six years I’ve been living in Israel. There has almost always been a steamy pot of soup served Friday night- I think I’m the only person who sometimes skips on that course. I remember eating by families who serve that soup as the main meal with a big chicken leg in each bowl to fill you up, and only dessert to follow. I’ve been served soup with turkey necks, and soup with chicken belly buttons(called Pupix in Hebrew and Pico in Hawaiian). I’m pretty well mannered, but manners have nothing to do with eating a belly button. No way, folks!
My sister in law introduced me to the Jamaican Chicken Soup, and, I’m being honest here, I have never made a different recipe since. We were in Rechavia for shabbos. I was(silly me)looking forward to a quiet weekend, just the four of us- plus kids and some siblings. Then Leora,(that’s my sister in law) tells me they’ve got 14 people coming for dinner. I slapped my forehead. DUH. This is Eli and Leo Chait here. Hosts of the far-french hill, they are widely known to host massive meals flush with exotic appetizers, lively conversation, good wine, and a beautifully set table to welcome you in. I don’t think Leora has ever served the same thing twice- wait I take that back, she does do a yearly personalized wonton cracker with beer braised pulled brisket and fresh guac. What did I tell you? Get on the list!
Anyway, wonderful as this meal was, I never got over the soup. A soup that makes you forget everything else is a soup to be remembered. Trust me on that. The chicken was so tender it was like butter. There was a spicy kick from a single jalapeño pepper(that one that kept comin’ around), and so much flavor(my mouth is literally watering right now).
The tender chicken comes from overnight- marinating. I put a whole small chicken in there, with chopped onion and vinegar. It’s the vinegar man. In the morning, you sauté all that good stuff, add some water and let it simmer. This creates a kind of stock. Add your veggies, more thyme(Jamaicans like thyme?), cover and simmer! Trust me, you should make a huge pot because that first spoonful “just to try” will turn into two bowls+ of hot soup.
Veering from the original recipe, I do not use bouillon cubes, something I have not succeeded in finding in this country. Instead, I do four tablespoons of chicken soup mix(try to use one without monosodium glutamate- I use Osem). I also add a small bunch of fresh dill. Extra flavor!
This soup can be served with dumplings [pictured] which I’ll post a recipe for later, but you can easily sub with matzo balls for Pesach!
Recipe courtesy of Temima Markowitz, and passed down to Leora.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how many bowls you ate in the comments below! For behind the scenes check out our instagram @estee _bestie and tag @soulandstreusel to show us your creations!
Jamaican Chicken Soup
- whole chicken
- 2 onions chopped
- whole head garlic crushed
- 10-15 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 Tbs. vinegar
- sprinkle salt+pepper
- 4 potatoes sliced in small chunks
- 4 carrots peeled and cut in small chunks
- 1 Jamaican sweet potatoe/butternut squash peeled and cut in small chunks
- 1 hot pepper
- 4 Tbs Osem chicken soup mix choose soup mix OR bouillon cubes
- 2 bouillon cubes
- 1-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- small bunch fresh dill(optional)
- Place chicken in a container and cover with 2 chopped onions, a whole head of crushed garlic, 10-15 sprigs fresh thyme(you can do 2Tbs. dried if you need to sub), 2 Tbs vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cover and put in fridge overnight. If you are making this day-of, you can let it marinade for only a couple hours and then continue.
- Place chicken with all the onion and garlic marinade in a large pot and sauce 10 minutes on each side. Add four cups of water and simmer for 20 min.
- Meanwhile, prepare 4 potatoes & 4 carrots. Choose between Jamaican sweet potato, normal sweet potato, acorn, or butternut squash, or use some of each! Slice all veggies in small chunks. Add to soup and add more water to cover.
- Add 1 hot pepper(green), 2 Tbs soup mix/billon cubes, and dill if using.
- Bring to a boil for one hour and then add dumplings if you're using. Cook for one more hour and add more fresh thyme. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
For more fabulous shabbos recipes, try…
Leave a Reply