In the 1970s and 1980s, Julia Silverberg Nemeth lived with her parents and grandmother on a homestead in the woods of northern Minnesota. They foraged for mushrooms to mix into a hunter’s stew and her mother Edith stuffed kohlrabi and simmered the root vegetable in a Hungarian sour cream and dill sauce. On Fridays, her grandmother Juliana made golden chicken soup with farina dumplings called galushka. “I didn’t know I was Jewish, but we were eating chicken soup every Friday,” Julia says. “I thought that [it] was maybe a Hungarian tradition.”
Both her mother and grandmother, were Hungarian Holocaust survivors. Afraid for their safety and Julia’s, they kept their Judaism a secret for decades. Still, they cooked traditional Jewish holiday dishes for Julia, never fully explaining their origin. Today, she’s connected with her Jewish identity and is researching her family’s history. “I’ve been everywhere putting together this puzzle,” she explains.
Learn more about Julia’s story on the Jewish Food Society archive and find her family recipe for apricot-filled doughnuts here and mákos nudli, or sweet poppyseed pasta, here.
1 small hen or chicken, about 3 ½ pounds, cut into 8 pieces (bone-in and skin-on)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered/ into 2” pieces
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 small celery root or celeriac, peeled and cut into 2” pieces (you can use 3 stalks of celery if unavailable)
1 small kohlrabi, peeled and quartered into 2” pieces (you can use ¼ of a small cabbage, roughly cut) if unavailable)
2-3 cloves garlic
For the dumplings:
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons oil
½ cup + 1 tablespoon farina wheat cereal
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
4 cups of chicken stock (premade or store-bought) or water
Fresh parsley for garnish
Make the soup: Place the hen or chicken into an extra large soup pot. Cover with 8 cups of cold water. Add peppercorns and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim impurities occasionally.
Add the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onion, celery root, kohlrabi, and garlic and simmer for 1 ½ – 2 hours. Add up to 2 cups additional water if it reduces too much.
While the soup cooks, make the dumplings: Add the eggs and oil to a large bowl and mix well. Add the farina and salt and mix thoroughly. Chill the dumpling batter in the refrigerator uncovered for 1 hour.
Bring the premade stock to a boil (this stock is separate from the chicken soup that’s simmering). Take 1 teaspoon of the dumpling batter and use two teaspoons, to shape it into an oval shape dumpling on one spoon and push it off into the broth using the other spoon. Repeat with remaining dough.
Simmer and cook the dumplings for about 15-20 minutes until they are cooked through. They will start to float, then cook until they are cooked through inside.
Transfer the dumplings directly into the hen soup and serve immediately.
Serve the soup and dumplings hot garnished with fresh parsley if using.