A Croatian hen soup recipe excellent for any soul

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As a child, I believed chicken soup was particular to Croatian delicacies. Our family members consumed it with these kinds of fervent regularity it approached worship. In my defence, I lived a sheltered life — which is to say I failed to get out much.

I know improved these days, and have flirted with pho, a lemony Greek avgolemono, Jewish ‘penicillin’ soup with matzo balls and a gingery Chinese wonton soup. But any time I experience under the weather, it really is this rooster soup, served 1st by my baba, and then by my parents, which I hanker for.

It is a uncomplicated more than enough recipe. All you require is some rooster on the bone, a handful of celery sticks, carrots and parsley, a handful of peppercorns and an onion or two blackened on the hob. Throw it all collectively, cover it with h2o, simmer for an hour or two until eventually your dwelling is filled with the great aroma of cooked rooster, and observe as alchemy happens.

That very simple list of components, by by themselves not significantly at all, is magicked into liquid gold: a pot of bone-thawing, soul-warming goodness and for me, the flavor of home.

Of all the Croatian dishes my dad and mom produced, and there were being many — I’m on the lookout at you stuffed cabbage roll, fish head soup, paprika rooster and fazol bean soup — this chicken soup was the 1 I whinged about and favored in equal measure.

Sounds odd, I know, but when you’re produced to eat a dish as much as we ended up, you can realize this picket line mind-set. To my dad and mom (and the relaxation of the Luksic clan), it could be scorching very hot, just absent breakfast, in the middle of a cyclone and we might nonetheless be designed to take in a bowl of the stuff. I may perhaps be exaggerating a minor. Sydney isn’t susceptible to cyclones.

What I can inform you is this fervour prolonged over and above our loved ones. The weekly zabava – dance gatherings – at the Croatian club in Punchbowl in Sydney’s southwest and King Tomislav Soccer Club, even further west in Edensor Park, ended up also mad for the things. Among regular kola dances and terrible handles of Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode (the only English-speaking tune the band could perform), we youngsters dutifully slurped bowls of soup even though eyeing off plates of grilled cevapcici and raznici pork skewers.

“That easy checklist of components, by by themselves not a lot at all, is magicked into liquid gold: a pot of bone-thawing, soul-warming goodness and for me, the flavor of residence.”

Our family members was tiny back again then. My dad and grandparents arrived in Australia from the migrant camps in Italy in 1956. The relaxation of the Luksic clan soon followed, providing my grandparents farm to pay out for their passage. Family weddings and christenings have been very simple affairs, held in area community halls, with the catering carried out by my aunts and cousins.

Times would go in a flurry of cake baking. There’d be layered sponges, denser concoctions, cream horns and sugar-dusted biscuits. The adults would gradual prepare dinner pork on the spit, roast some chooks and seize a bucket of KFC for us youngsters. But devoid of are unsuccessful, arrive time to eat, a bowl of rooster soup, flecked with parsley and brilliant orange discs of carrot, would surface before me at my seat. 

My baba included semolina dumplings to her soup. She’d drop teaspoonfuls of thick batter into the blend and simmer them until they ended up plump and drunk with liquid. My mom and dad included egg noodles they’d drizzle a batter of flour and egg into the boiling inventory. The thin yellow squiggles cooked speedily, swirling and accumulating in clumps until finally there was no area to include a lot more.

If you know a Croatian, you can know a vegetable stock model identified as Vegeta is our jam. When you can use salt and pepper, I normally include a spoonful or two for included depth and kick. It brings every person in the dwelling to the kitchen area.

Enjoy the tale? Follow the author below: Instagram @belindaluksic. 

Photos by Belinda Luksic

My family’s hen soup

Serves 4


  • 1.5 kg entire chicken
  • 2 celery stalks, approximately chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 2 brown onions, peeled and blackened on an open flame
  • 4 stalks parsley, furthermore additional to serve
  • 6 peppercorns

Semolina dumplings

  • 1 egg
  • 50 g semolina
  • Pinch of salt 

Egg noodles


  1. Location hen, celery, carrots, onion, parsley and peppercorns in a saucepan and protect with chilly drinking water.
  2. Convey to the boil, turn down the warmth and simmer for 90 minutes until eventually the hen is cooked.
  3. Remove the chicken and pressure the stock. Reserve the carrots and discard the remaining solids.
  4. Time the soup with salt or add a teaspoon or two of Vegeta.
  5. Slice the carrots and return to the pot with the distinct stock.
  6. Shred the rooster meat, eradicating any skin and bones and set apart until serving.
  7. Now prepare the egg noodles or dumplings.
  8. For the dumplings, defeat the egg with a fork and gradually increase the semolina and salt, whisking gently right until merged. Depart for a few minutes and if desired, include much more semolina. The consistency must be thick and gentle, not sticky or runny.
  9. Carry the inventory to a mild boil. Condition teaspoonfuls of the dumpling mix into an oval form and carefully fall into the pot using a further spoon to enable.
  10. Prepare dinner until finally the dumplings triple in dimension and appear to the surface area, then remove from heat.
  11. For egg noodles, beat the egg with a fork and little by little incorporate the flour, whisking till clean. Incorporate additional flour if necessary. The regularity must be runny, like pancake batter.
  12. Provide the soup to a mild boil and drizzle teaspoonfuls of batter into the inventory. Cook for 1-2 minutes then get rid of from heat.
  13. Add clean chopped parsley and relaxation in the hot soup for a handful of minutes.
  14. To serve: include some chicken to a bowl. Ladle above some soup, earning absolutely sure to include some dumplings or noodles, carrots and parsley.

Vegeta is out there at big supermarkets and specialty delicatessens.

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