Chicken Soup

I’ve been working on perfecting my chicken soup recipe for years, and this is the best I’ve had anywhere.

With chicken soup, the most important point to remember is to never let it come to a boil (it should be just barely simmering). And since most modern chickens don’t taste much like chicken, the other “trick” is to make the broth first, then reduce it until it tastes like chicken, then season it and add the rest of the ingredients.

1 Whole 4 – 5 Lb Chicken (fowl or roaster)
4 Stalks Celery, cut bite-sized, including leafy tops
1 Large Whole Yellow Onion, not peeled, cut in quarters
1/2 Large Whole Yellow Onion, peeled, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
4 Large Whole Carrots, peeled and sliced into disks or strips
3 Cloves Garlic, smashed and not peeled
1 Parsnip, cut into chunks and not peeled
1 Bunch Parsley, stems removed, chopped medium-fine
2 Bay Leaves
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Put the chicken in the pot and add water to just barely cover.
  • Slowly bring to a very gentle simmer (don’t let it boil!)
    and cook for 2 – 3 hours, until the chicken is very soft and almost falling
    apart. Skim off any scum that forms on the surface.
  • Remove the chicken and place in refrigerator to cool.
  • Gently simmer the broth uncovered until reduced by one third, or until it tastes like chicken, and not watery.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Note the order of the above two steps: Simmer to the desired desired level of “chicken” flavor first, then add the salt and pepper.
    Doing it in reverse order increases the salt and pepper levels as the broth reduces, and will make it much too salty and peppery
  • Add the quartered, un-peeled onion, all the garlic, half of the celery, half of the carrots, all the bay leaves, cover the pot and gently simmer until the veggies are very soft.
  • Strain broth, discard all the veggies and return broth to the pot.
  • Add remaining vegetables and simmer until soft.
  • Optional, but worth the time: Chill overnight and remove fat from surface of soup.
  • Serve with Matzo Balls, noodles or dumplings, and add back as much of the cooled chicken as you wish. When reheating, use medium low heat and do not boil.

Serves 6 to 8