A friend of mine, who is not Jewish, asked me how to make “real Jewish chicken soup.” I gave him my recipe, which he said was similar to his mother’s Italian version (except mine included dill). 

But when I saw him a few days later he was dismayed about the soup. He said it tasted better than delicious but that when it was cold it got all gelled up and jiggly. His mother’s soup never did that.

Ah. Gelled liquid. The sign of great soup. Soup made with bones. Bones with collagen that melts slowly and surely and enriches the broth, giving it abundant, old fashioned flavor. Soup broth the way it’s supposed to be.


My friend was thrilled he hadn’t made a mistake. He smiled when I told him his soup was probably better than his mama’s.

Robbie’s success got me to thinking about making some soup of course. And fortunately I had just the right ingredients: chicken bones. Almost four pounds of them, from KOL Foods.

KOL Foods produces Glatt kosher poultry, beef and lamb and brings a new level of humanity to the way they treat their stock. For any meat to be kosher, the animals must be slaughtered in a particular — humane — way. KOL Foods upped the standard. Their animals are raised humanely too, with an eye toward sustainability. The chickens, turkey and ducks are free-roaming and fed an organic, GMO-free, vegetarian diet; they are not given arsenic, antibiotics or hormones.

The company has an eye for your budget too. Poultry can be expensive and kosher poultry even more so.

Hence the chicken bones, which the company sells in packages for shipment and are a lot cheaper than whole chickens or parts. The bones deliver a delicious broth and there’s enough meat on them to make a filling dish. My almost 4 pounds of bones yielded more than 3 cups of cut up meat.

This is the soup I made with them: rich, rib-sticking, comforting and wonderful. The liquid gels when it’s chilled. The way it’s supposed to.

Bones and Vegetable Soup

3-4 pounds meaty chicken bones

12 cups water

2/3 cup barley

2 onions, sliced

½ cup dried mushroom pieces, soaked, softened and chopped

3-4 carrots, sliced

2-3 stalks celery, sliced

2 parsnips, sliced

8 sprigs fresh dill

6 sprigs fresh parsley

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained

1 small zucchini, diced

1 cup frozen peas

Place the chicken in a soup pot and cover with the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and for the next several minutes, discard the debris that comes to the surface. Add the barley, onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, parsnips, dill, parsley and salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, for one hour. Add the beans, zucchini and peas and cook for another 50-60 minutes. Remove the bones and cut off bits of chicken; place the chicken meat back into the soup. Discard the bones. Makes 8 servings