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Sunday Paper Dinner Table: Overnight Chicken Soup


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Overnight Chicken Soup (with a Yemenite Option)

This is the way my late mom, Steffi, used to cook her chicken soup: overnight for at least 12 hours, sometimes longer, until the soup turned golden, rich, and gorgeous. The chicken, wrapped in cheesecloth, gives everything it has to the soup. It defies logic, but the meat, and even the whole vegetables that simmer alongside it, emerge in shockingly good shape. Since we kept the Sabbath  and had a low flame on our stove for warming food, the idea of going to sleep with a soup simmer- ing away gives me great comfort; if it doesn’t inspire the same feelings in you (no judgment), start the soup early in the morning, turn it off before you go to bed, then let it cool overnight on the stovetop before refrigerating. Since Yemenite hawaiij improves everything, I give you the option to add some in the last few hours of cooking; it will lend the most wondrous mildly spicy flavor and sunshiny hue to your broth.



Serves 10 to 12

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: About 13 hours

In a very large (at least 8-quart) stockpot*, arrange a large, overhanging double layer of cheesecloth. Place the chicken in the center of  the cheesecloth and tie the cheesecloth into   a knot so the chicken is totally enclosed. Add the carrots, celery, onion, parsnip, turnip, and garlic, cover with 3 inches of cold water, bring to a vigorous boil over high heat, and boil, skimming and discarding any scum, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the dill, and cook, checking every so often that the soup is moving with very small bubbles— almost like a tide washing in—but not boiling. After about 2 hours, add the salt. It should taste delicious and salty, like soup should taste. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for a total of 12 hours, either a whole waking day or overnight. Occasionally, skim off the fat from the top (it’s easy to do when the flame is so low; the fat pools on the top). Put that fat and broth with it in a bowl in the fridge; when it hardens, tip the bowl back into the soup; the broth slips out from underneath the disc of  fat, which I use as schmaltz (chicken fat)  in recipes like Medjool Date Gondi (page 167). If you’re going Yemenite, add the hawaiij and ginger 2 hours before you’re done cooking the soup. When ready to serve, remove and discard the dill. Remove the chicken to a bowl, cut the cheesecloth open to help it cool, then tip any broth back into the soup. Strip off and discard the skin and cheesecloth. Take all the meat off the bones. Discard the bones. Portion the meat out into bowls with the broth and vegetables (leave them whole, or cut them into large pieces if you like). Season with more salt if needed. Serve with lachuch.

*If you don’t have an 8-quart pot, use a 6-quart pot. Start with a 3-pound chicken and use 2 carrots, 1 celery stalk, and 1 medium onion.

From SABABA by ADEENA SUSSMAN, published by AVERY, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2019 by ADEENA SUSSMAN.


A Tel Aviv-based author, food writer, recipe and product developer, Adeena Sussman is the author of Sababa: Fresh Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen. She has co-authored eleven cookbooks, including the New York Times best-seller Cravings—and its New York Times bestselling follow-up, Hungry for More—with Chrissy Teigen. She is also the author of Short Stack Editions’ Tahini. A lifelong visitor to Israel, she moved there in 2015 after meeting an expat American who has since become her husband. She lives footsteps from Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market, where she shops and explores daily, taking inspiration from her adopted country’s seasonal and cultural culinary rhythms. She has written about Israeli food for Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, Epicurious, Gourmet, and many others. To learn more visit

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