Gosh I need my mother and some chicken soup.
I have an annoying cold and fever and so, so wish my mother was here to make some chicken soup for me. She made such good chicken soup, always with a large chicken, I think maybe a stewing hen. A kosher one with soft flesh and the right amount of salt that flavors the soup perfectly.
And always fresh dill. She taught me that it isn’t real chicken soup without fresh dill.
Well, I don’t happen to have a large kosher stewing hen in the house.
But I do have a small roaster! AND I do have fresh dill. AND I do have carrots, parsnips and onions in the bin. I always have carrots, parsnips and onions in the bin.
So, I’ll be the Little Red Hen. I’ll make the soup myself.
I know this recipe is good because I’ve used it all my life, with whatever size chicken I happen to have in the fridge or freezer.
My Mom’s Chicken Soup
1 large whole chicken
4 carrots, peeled
3 stalks celery, peeled
1 medium parsnip, peeled
1 large onion, left whole but peeled
small bunch of fresh dill
1 tablespoon salt, or salt to taste
6-8 whole black peppercorns
Wash the chicken inside and out, remove pinfeathers and hairs and place it in a soup pot. Pour enough water in the pot to cover the chicken by 1-inch. Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat and for the next several minutes, remove any scum that rises to the surface. Add the carrots, celery, parsnip, onion, dill, salt and peppercorns. Cover the pan partially and simmer the soup for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until the chicken meat is very soft when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Pour the soup through a strainer or colander into a large bowl or a second pot. Set the chicken and vegetables aside. Remove the fat from the surface of the liquid with a spoon or fat-skimming tool or by patting paper towels on the surface. For best results, refrigerate the strained soup; when it is cold, the fat will rise to the surface and harden and you can scoop it off. (Refrigerate the vegetables and the chicken separately.) Serve the soup plain or with the vegetables (cut them up) and chicken (remove the meat from the bones and cut it up).
Makes 8 servings