This tangy soup is prepared for Passover in North Africa. If the chicken meat is eaten separately, it is eaten with rice, as North African Sephardic Jews are allowed to eat rice on Passover. (The Jews of Eastern European origin, called Ashkenazim, are forbidden to eat rice on Passover.)
1 large chicken (at least 3 lbs.)
2 small turnips, peeled and chopped
3 onions, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 bunch parsley, with root if possible, or 1 small parsnip, peeled and chopped, or both
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. powdered saffron or turmeric
2 eggs, beaten
1. Wash chicken. Squeeze juice from one of the lemons into a small bowl and set aside. Rub chicken all over with the inside of a squeezed lemon half. Place chicken in a large, deep kettle and add enough water to barely cover it.
2. Bring water in kettle to a boil over high heat. With a spoon, skim off the foam that forms on the surface of the water.
3. When you have removed as much foam as possible and the water is boiling, reduce heat and add vegetables, parsley and/or parsnip, salt, and pepper. Cover kettle and let chicken simmer for 1 hour.
4. Add lemon juice and remaining spices to soup. Cover kettle and let chicken simmer for another hour.
5. With tongs, carefully remove chicken from pot. Place on a plate and let cool. When cool, remove meat from bones and set aside.
6. Carefully pour broth through a sieve into another large pan placed underneath to catch the liquid. Save the vegetables.
7. Cool broth to room temperature, then refrigerate for 30 minutes to bring fat to the surface. Skim the surface with a paper towel to absorb fat.
8. Before serving, beat eggs into 1 c. of the soup and return to kettle. Add the cooked vegetables and, if desired, bite-sized pieces of the cooked chicken. (The chicken can also be served separately.) Reheat the soup, stirring occasionally. Do not let it boil.
9. Serve soup hot with remaining lemons cut into wedges for squeezing into soup.
Preparation time: 3 hours
(plus 30 minutes refrigeration)
Serves 6 to 8