There are many versions of this popular Amish corn and chicken soup with rivels… this is mine.
On the first day I make the rivels and spread them out on my cutting board to dry. I also make the stock for the soup by simmering chicken pieces (usually thighs) in a large pot of water. Since any soup is only as good as the stock it is made in, I try to make the stock as flavorful as possible. I always add dried or fresh sage, basil, salt, and pepper… celery, onions, and carrots… and simmer everything until it has reduced by about half. Then I refrigerate the stock overnight. Once it has cooled any fat has congealed and can be easily skimmed off the top.
On soup making day I prepare the vegetables. I use a combination of onions, carrots, celery, and corn. I include carrots because we like carrots in a soup, but I don’t think they are a usual part of most recipes for this soup. Because I make very small rivels, I also like to cut the vegetables into very small pieces. I think it adds more flavor to saute the carrots, onions, and celery until they are almost tender and then add them to the already simmering stock, but in most recipes I don’t think the vegetables are sauteed first.
I add the rivels to the stock at this point and simmer all the ingredients together until the rivels are tender. Then I add the chicken and corn and simmer the soup for another ten minutes. The proper type of corn to use seems to be debatable. Some people insist only fresh corn will do… others use a combination of whole kernel corn and creamed corn. Creamed corn is not something we like (understatement), but an Amish lady once told me that a good substitute was to use whole kernel corn and just crush the kernels. A few brief pulses in the food processor does that job nicely.
The ingredient proportions for this soup are very flexible, although I almost always use equal amounts of chicken and corn, and I always make a double batch of rivels. Other than that, I don’t think I ever make this soup exactly the same way twice… although I do always use only one onion. The sage is my own addition… I have never seen sage listed as an ingredient for chicken corn soup, but we like sage with chicken and I have always added it.
Some people like boiled eggs with this soup either as a garnish or chopped and mixed into the soup. In this household we have mixed opinions about the eggs. Personally I really like boiled eggs, but for some reason not in this soup! My compromise is to boil up a few eggs and anyone who wants eggs can cut them up and add them to their own bowl of soup.
If you have never tried corn and chicken soup with rivels, I hope you will. My family thinks it’s a keeper.