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Amish Corn and Chicken Soup with Rivels


This marvelous recipe--truly "Amish penicillin"--was given to me by Judi Gawor, who lives about an hour from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the site of a large Amish community. Judi says: "That is where I first had this soup. I asked an Amish lady for the recipe and she was delighted to give it to me. It is so tasty and so hearty." And that's an understatement. Wonderful on cold days; wonderful for colds and flus; wonderful anytime anywhere, filling your home with rich aromas that have you panting for the soup to be done. Serve hot as a meal to 4-6 people.

  • 4 - 5 lb. roaster chicken (or you can use chicken pieces, i.e. legs, breasts, thighs)
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped small
  • 4 quarts (16 cups) water (if you use chicken pieces, you might want to strengthen the broth by using chicken stock)
  • 6 or 8 ears of fresh corn, cut from the cobs (you may substitute canned or frozen corn, about 6+ cups worth)
  • 4 hard cooked eggs, chopped into medium size pieces
  • generous pinch of saffron
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE RIVELS: Wait until the soup is done to prepare this dough. Then, in a bowl, mix 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 beaten eggs, blending until the mixture is crumbly (NOT SMOOTH).

In a large soup pot, combine the onion, celery, chicken, and cold water (or stock). Bring to simmer over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to low and continue simmering until the chicken is done and ready to fall off the bones--an hour or more. Remove chicken and let cool. Cut the meat into pieces and reserve, discarding the bones. You may skim the fat off the stock if you wish.

When ready to finalize the soup, add the corn kernels, the reserved chicken pieces, the hard boiled eggs, the saffron, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let cook for 10 minutes.

Make up the rivel dough at this point and add to the soup by rubbing the mixture between your fingers over the pot of soup, dropping in small amounts bit by bit. Judi notes: "I make mine in tiny 'strings.'. They should not be big--that is a dumpling! Some people make them about the size of a pea. I like mine slightly larger. They do swell up some."

When the rivels are cooked and the soup has thickened, ladle into big bowls and garnish with some extra sprinkles of parsley.