Recipe for old-fashioned chicken soup

FOOD STYLING/SHERYL JULIAN; Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/File

Serves 6

The secret to my chicken soup — add a drum roll here — is chicken, and plenty of it. Add some of it to the bowls or turn it into another dish. Chicken sandwiches, with thick slices of the meat, mayo, and lettuce, on a soft roll, would be one dish. Chicken quesadillas, with black beans, jalapenos, and avocado, is another.

5 pounds chicken parts (breasts, thighs,
4 quarts water
6 carrots, cut into 4-inch lengths
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 onions, coarsely chopped
½ bunch fresh parsley, stems tied, leaves chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bay leaf
3 peppercorns
½ cup tiny soup pasta such as alphabets, stars, ditalini

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1. Put the chicken pieces into a large heatproof bowl. Bring a tea kettle of water to a boil and pour it over the chicken pieces. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Drain the chicken and rinse with cold water.

2. In a soup pot, combine the chicken, 4 quarts water, carrots, celery, onions, parsley stems, and salt. Bring to a boil. Skim the surface thoroughly. Add the bay leaf and peppercorns. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the chicken, skimming the liquid often, for 1 hour or until it is cooked through.

3. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes or until the pasta is tender but still has some bite. Drain without rinsing and transfer to a bowl.

4. With tongs, transfer the chicken to a large container. Shred some of the chicken for the soup or reserve it for another dish; refrigerate. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a second container, discarding parsley stems, bay leaf, and peppercorns.

5. Strain the broth into a third container. Cool completely, cover, and refrigerate.

6. Discard the fat that solidified on the broth. In a soup pot, bring the broth and vegetables to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pasta and if you’re adding chicken meat to the soup, add it now. Let the soup return to a boil. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with parsley. Sheryl Julian