Well for years I made my soup like my Mother – Whole stewing hen in the pot, chopped veggies etc..and it was good! BUT…I came across this recipe from a Sicilian Cookbook and have made it ever since.
Instead of using a whole chicken or whole pieces. I buy cut up chicken (usually about 6-8 whole legs which are always on sale, but taste the same in soup), pull off a lot of the skin and fat and then take a cleaver or heavy knife and cut the pieces just through the bones. What this does is releases the marrow into the soup and gives it a little more richness.
I put the chicken in the pot and I’ll lay whole veggies on top. Usually about – (all approximate)
2 onions cut in half with the skin (gives color),
2 large stalks of celery with leaves – cut to fit,
2 whole carrots with skin,
4 sprigs of parsley,
4 whole garlic cloves,
Salt to taste
Cover this all with water and bring to a boil…skim off the foam that comes from the boiling and reduce the heat to very low. Let simmer for about 2-3 hours. The slow simmer keeps it very clear.
Gently strain the broth into a colander over another pot, being careful not to mix up the little bit of residue from the bottom. Discard the cooked veggies but save some of the cooked chicken if you desire, which will fall off the bones. (I put this back in sometimes, eat it or the dog's love it!)
I usually put this broth into a plastic container and put it in the fridge to cool so that I can skim off any additional fat. Sometimes, I’ll freeze the clear broth for future use. You can use it right away though and just add anything you would like – chopped vegetables and pasta, little meatballs, even Matza Balls!
This is the best soup – It’s a little more work, but it’s so rich in color from the marrow and onion skins, and just screams out “healthy!”
2 Medium Leeks (White & Pale 1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
Green Parts Only), 1/4 tsp Whole Peppercorns Washed & Sliced Thin 1 Bay Leaf
1 LARGE Carrot, Sliced Thin 1 Pinch Dried Marjoram
1 Stalk Celery w/Leaves, 4 Quarts Water
Chopped - Salt to Taste
5 lb Chicken Backs, Necks &
Melt the butter in a large (8-10 Quart) kettle over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft but not browned. Add the chicken pieces, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaf, marjoram and water. Slowly bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover. Simmer until the broth develops a rich flavor (3 1/2-4 hours). Strain. Discard the solids. Return to the kettle. Boil gently, uncovered, until reduced to the final quantity (30-60 minutes). Taste. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate overnight. Skim off and discard fat. Use within 3 days.
2 1/2 pounds bony chicken pieces
2 celery ribs with leaves, cut into chunks
2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
2 medium onions, quartered
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
8 whole peppercorns
2 quarts cold water
Place all ingredients in a soup kettle or Dutch oven. Slowly bring to a boil; reduce heat. Skim foam. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Set chicken aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones. Discard bones; save meat for another use. Strain broth, discarding vegetables and seasonings. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Skim fat from surface.
Bring to a boil 8 cups of water with a whole stewing chicken plus a generous amount of crushed lemon grass (only the stalk not the leaves), ginger, whole peppercorns, carrots and whole pearl onions. Boil the ingredients for 2-3 hours and filter the broth with clear muslin.