In many Yemenite families the midday meal during the week often revolves around a big pot of golden, aromatic chicken soup. This is a flavorful, whole-meal soup that I like to prepare often. Potatoes are traditional but I add plenty of other vegetables according to the season: carrots and zucchini all year, yellow crookneck squash and green beans in summer, green peas in spring, butternut squash and sometimes mushrooms in the winter. Serve it Yemenite style, with fresh pita bread and the spicy Yemenite chutney called zehug on the side.
- 2½ to 3 pounds chicken pieces, fat and skin removed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 5 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 large onion, whole or sliced
- 6 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 4 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- About 2 quarts water
- 6 medium boiling potatoes
- 6 medium zucchini, halved and cut into 1-inch slices
1. Put chicken in a large stew pan or pot. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric. Add onion, carrots, garlic, and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat, skimming foam occasionally 1 hour.
2. Peel potatoes, if desired. Halve them, add to soup, and simmer 20 minutes. Add zucchini and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Skim off fat. (If making soup ahead, refrigerate, then skim off fat.) Adjust seasoning; season generously with pepper. Remove chicken, discard skin, cut meat from bones, discard bones, and return meat to soup. Serve soup in fairly shallow bowls with chicken and vegetables.