“Happy Chicken” Soup

This soup got its name when we served it to an unexpected dinner guest on a Friday evening who thought that he was eating chicken soup (it tastes very similar to a traditional chicken soup, although it is completely vegetarian).  We joked that it was a soup that makes even the chicken happy! 

“Happy Chicken” Soup – ready for its close-up!


2 T vegetable oil (use extra virgin olive oil for more flavor, if desired)

1 6″ piece of pumpkin, seeds removed

1 medium onion, chopped

3 medium carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced (including leaves)

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 Cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 Cup dried chickpeas (optional)

1 bay leaf 

6 – 8 Cups of vegetable stock or water (see Vegetarian Soup Stock, p. 13)

1 tsp. salt, pepper to taste

1.  Heat the vegetable oil over low heat in a pot large enough to hold all the Ingredients.  Add chopped onion and sauté for five minutes with the cover on over low heat, until the onions are translucent and begin to brown. Add the garlic, sauté for a few minutes, and then stir in pumpkin, celery and carrots. Let cook ten minutes (add a few tablespoons of water if the pot starts to get dry), and add parsley and bay leaf, as well as chick peas (optional). 

2.  Stir, and add stock or water.  Raise heat, and bring the soup to a boil.  Then, lower heat and simmer at least one hour, with the top on the pot, but open a crack.  Taste and cook longer if the flavor is not strong enough yet.  Add salt and pepper just before serving.  

Classic Matzah Balls (Knaidloch)

For a really traditional tasting “Chicken” soup, serve with matzoh balls (knaidloch).


1 C matzah meal

1/2 Cup water

4 eggs

1/3 Cup olive oil

1/4 Cup parsley, chopped fine

1 tsp. salt, dash pepper

1.  Add water, olive oil, salt and pepper to beaten eggs.  Mix well, add matzah meal and stir thoroughly.  

2.  Refrigerate one hour.  

3.  Form into balls and drop into salted boiling water (1 1/2 quarts, 1 T salt).  Cook approximately 20 minutes.


Any or all of the following Ingredients can be added to the matzah balls along with the matzah-meal for a very special effect:

–  One finely chopped shallot and/or finely chopped clove of garlic sautéed in 1 table spoon extra virgin olive until translucent and just starting to brown (One to two tablespoons of finely chopped onion could be substituted for the shallot);

– One tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley and/or one tablespoon finely chopped basil. This can be added as is, or sautéed very briefly with the shallot/onion mixture. 

Published by skfinston

Born February 21, 1961 in Detroit, Michigan; enjoying 2nd Middle Age in Zichron Yaakov, Israel. After a misspent youth in the US Foreign Service (postings in London, Tel Aviv and Manila), I moved to the Semi-private Sector, working for a leading trade association in Washington DC before launching my own company Finston Consulting in 2005. Over the last 15+ years I have worked with innovative companies ranging from Fortune-100 to start up, as well as NGOs, and governments, including service as a cleared advisor (Secret level) to the Commerce Department and the U.S. Trade Representative (IPR, Tariff/Trade Facilitation). As a graduate of the University of Michigan, my degrees include a Bachelors of Science (Philosophy, High Honors), Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Policy. After law school I clerked at the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit before joining the U.S. Foreign Service (TSI-CodeWord Clearance). I am a member of the Illinois and US Supreme Court Bar.

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