Sunday Supper & More

Chicken soup

(Food Styling/Sheryl Julian/Globe Staff; Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
September 8, 2010

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Serves 6

Kosher chicken gives soup the most flavor. You can add a parsnip to this pot, if you like, and serve the bowls with shreds of chicken and tiny soup pasta or fine egg noodles. Or ladle only broth and vegetables into the bowls. If you want a stronger broth, add 2 split chicken breasts and enough additional water (about 2 cups) to just cover the meat.

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut in half (reserve back, neck, and gizzard)
6 carrots, halved crosswise
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Handful fresh parsley stems
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 quarts water
1 bay leaf
3 peppercorns
Handful fresh parsley leaves, chopped (for garnish)

1. With your fingers, pull off and discard any dark red bits around the base of the backbone and inside the chicken. Transfer the backbone, chicken halves, neck, and gizzard (not the heart or liver) to a large heatproof bowl.

2. Bring a tea kettle of water to a boil. Pour enough water to cover the chicken; set aside for 10 minutes.

3. In a soup pot, combine the carrots, celery, onions, parsley stems, and salt. With tongs, pull the chicken, backbone, neck, and gizzard from water and transfer to the pot. Discard soaking liquid.

4. Add the 3 quarts water to the chicken. Bring to a boil. Use a slotted spoon to skim the surface often. Add the bay leaf and peppercorns.

5. Lower heat, cover pot, and simmer the chicken for 1 hour or until cooked through. Skim the surface several times during cooking.

6. Let the pot cool for 30 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a large container. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to another container. Discard parsley stems, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Strain the broth into a third container. Cool completely, cover, and refrigerate. Reserve the chicken for the chicken salad.

7. Discard the fat on the broth. Reheat the broth and vegetables until boiling. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with parsley.

Sheryl Julian