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!”