- 2 whole organic young chickens – 2 or 3 pounds each
- 1 cup flat parsley, rough chopped
- 1 bag of carrots, about 7 or 8 peeled and chopped
- 4 or 5 celery stocks washed and chopped
- 20 cups of water (filtered or bottled)
- 1 whole onion peeled
- 5 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- 2 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon black pepper
Noodles from Scratch
- 3 Eggs
- 2 3/4 Flour
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 Cup of Milk
Unwrap and rinse the chickens. Make sure to take out any of the innards from the chickens. Most come with neck and livers inside, discard them. In a very large stock pot, (12 plus quarts) add the chickens, crushed garlic and the peeled yellow onion. Bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Meanwhile use this time to peel and chop all of your veggies, setting them aside in a bowl.
After simmering for an 1 1/2 to 2 hours, remove and discard the onion. Remove the chickens and set aside to cool. Add your bowl of chopped veg and bring the stock back to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the veggies and stock for about 30 minutes until the veggies are soft.
Once the chickens have cooled, carefully separate the chicken from the bones making sure to discard any funky pieces. Tear apart the chicken into small pieces with your hands. This will ensure that you have removed all of the bones and inedible pieces of chicken. Add the chicken back into the soup with the vegetables. Now for the noodles.
Noodles From Scratch –
Making the noodles (Country Noodles also sometimes called Spaetzle) from scratch is the most time consuming piece of the recipe. Up until this point we’ve chopped a few veggies and waited for time to pass. In a separate pot bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, salt the water with about 1 Tbsp kosher salt. In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt and flour. Mix until smooth.
On a clean flat cutting board pour 1/3 of the noodle batter onto the cutting board. Use a butter knife to evenly spread the batter across half of the cutting board up to one edge. While holding the cutting board over the pot of boiling water, use the butter knife to shuck (or scrape) small, even amounts of the batter into the water. Have fun with the size of your noodles, tailoring them to the size you like. Cook the noodles in batches, making sure the water continues to boil.
As the noodles rise to the top they are done cooking and can be transferred to the chicken soup with a slotted spoon or a spider. The noodles cook fast, in about 30 to 60 seconds depending on how large they are. Repeat and continue this process until no batter remains and all of the noodles have made their way into the stock pot full of soup.
I first heard of the Famous 4th street delicatessen on the Food Network several months ago. Alton Brown hosted a mini series on some of Americas best food. The 4th street delicatessen was awarded the honor for their Famous Chicken Soup.
When I first walked in, I was instantly transported back to the 1920’s… Minus the TV in the corner. The look and feel of the 4th street Deli was almost breathtaking. It was probably the closest I will get to riding in a time machine. Then I looked at the prices, they were certainly 2011 prices. The prices are a little high, but the portions are insanely large, so by sharing a meal the prices come back into a normal range.
Of course I had to order the Famous Chicken Soup! A delicious chicken soup served with a large matzo ball in the middle. This one bowl of soup will feed a small army, it’s giant. It’s more like a bathtub of soup than a bowl. It will feed at least 4 or 5 people. Don’t think that you could order this soup and finish it yourself (even if it is so good that it would make your Grandmother proud). You will need to bring a few friends along to share. (You might just want to bring your Grandmother too).
I also ordered a Ruben made with corn beef. The sandwich was also huge! I’m not kidding, it was about the size of my head. I was lucky to get half down after eating a few bowls of soup. The Ruben was the best I have ever eaten. The corn beef melted in my mouth, the rye bread was tasty and perfectly crispy.
The giant soup was incredible. The matzo ball was so flavorful and while the soup felt as if it was homemade by my Grandmother, the matzo ball kicked it up to the next level. I have certainly never had chicken soup this good out at a restaurant. My wife’s mother makes a mean chicken noodle soup from scratch, but the delicious matzo ball really made it different.
I was way too full for dessert, but the cases were stocked full of pastries and beautiful cakes that I would have loved to try, but just couldn’t. Even I have a limit to how much I can eat in one sitting. There is always next time.
Famous 4th Street deli – Another top spot in the great food town of Philly. This is one of those places that you need to add to your must visit list.
Note – 4th Street Delicatessen now has two locations. See their website for details.