Pursuant to an online survey it’s our country’s favorite soup, obligatory part of the menu of weddings and special events. It’s named after Ede Újházy (1841-1915), a successful Hungarian character actor played in Debrecen. He was famous for being a passionate fond of gastronomy, he even ran his own tavern in Dohány street for a while. He was a frequent guest in Wampetics restaurant where the famous soup was first prepared according to his instructions. The soup achieved great success and other restaurants also took over its recipe. It was originally made from cock, but today hen is preferred to use (hen and not chicken because it’s a long-simmering soup that reveals its marvellous tastes after 2-3 hours of cooking, and chicken gets ready in an hour). The final result depends on the quality of the ingredients: it’s higly recommended to choose free range hen instead of hen raised in industrial poultry farms. Vegetables, peas, mushrooms and vermicelli are as important as the meat.
- 1 hen (1-1,5 kg ~2-3 lb)
- 2,5-3 l water
- 1 small onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 10-15 peppercorns
- 2 pinches of saffron or safflower
- 1 tsp. lovage
- 2-3 tsps. salt
- 2 carrots
- 3 parsley roots
- 40 g (~1 1/2 oz) celeriac
- 50 g (~1 3/4 oz) kohlrabi
- 50 g (~1 3/4 oz) savoy cabbage
- 1 sweet green pepper
- 1 tomato
- 50 g (~1 3/4 oz) mushrooms
- 100 g (~3 1/2 oz) cauliflowers
- 150 g (~5 oz) green peas
- 100 g (~3 1/2 oz) vermicelli
Clean and wash the hen, then cut into parts.
Clean, peel and wash the vegetables. Cut the carrots, parsley roots, celeriac and kohlrabi in bigger parts.
Put the meat in a large pot and cover with approximately 2,5-3 l of cold water. Place over the heat without a lid and bring it to the boil.
Skim the foam from the top of the water.
Put pepper corns, garlic cloves and saffron or safflower in a tea ball.
Add 2 tsps. of salt, the tea ball, lovage and onion to the soup. Cover with a lid and start to simmer on low heat. After 40-45 minutes add carrots, parsley roots, celeriac, kohlrabi, savoy cabbage (not chopped), whole green pepper and tomato (and salt if needed). Simmer until the meat gets completely soft.
Drain the soup using a colander. Remove the bigger bones from the meat and keep it warm by covering with 2-3 ladles of soup.
Throw away savoy cabbage, onion, green pepper, tomato and the content of the tea ball. Put the boiled vegetables onto a plate and set aside.
Cook the cauliflowers, peas and mushrooms in 1-2 ladles of soup in a smaller pot. If it’s ready, add the boiled vegetables.
Pour 1 litre of soup in another pot and cook the vermicelli.
Add the meat, boiled vegetables and vermicelli in a soup tureen and cover with soup. Serve fresh and hot.
Hen soup in Újházy style | photo: zserbo.com