chicken soup

This is the best chicken soup in the world. Courtesy of Julia Moskin, NYT Cooking.


1 chicken (3-3.5 lbs) with skin, cut up

3 stalks celery with leaves, cut into chunks

2 large carrots, cut into chunks

2 yellow onions, peeled and halved

1 parsnip (optional)

about 1 dozen large sprigs of parsley sprigs

about 1 dozen black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste

To finish the soup:

3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat

3 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, rinsed and sliced crosswise into thin half-moons ( I used one and it turned out fine)

3 large carrots, peeled and cut into circles

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

egg noodles

finely chopped herbs such as parsley, scallions, dill or chives


  • Place the chicken, celery, carrots, onions, parsnips, parsley, peppercorns, bay leaves and salt in a large soup pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce heat to very low. adjust the heat to very low. adjust the heat until the soup is “smiling”: barely moving on the surface with an occasional bubble breaking through. Cook uncovered until the chicken is very tender and falling off the bone 1-1.5 hours.
  • When cool enough to handle, use tongs to transfer chicken from the pot to a container. Taste broth and continue to simmer until it is concentrated and tasty. Strain broth through a fine sieve into a separate container. Discard all solids from strainer.
  • Refrigerate chicken and broth separately for at least 8 hours (for up to 3 days),  until a thick layer of yellow fat has risen to the top of the broth.
  • When ready to finish the soup, separate the chicken from the bones and discard skin, bones and dark meat.
  • Skim chicken fat from the top of the broth and set aside. Place 3 tablespoons of the fat in a soup pot with a lid. Add leeks, stir to coat and heat over medium heat until leeks begin to fry. Then reduce the heat to a gentle sizzle and cook, stirring often until slightly softened about 3 minutes.
  • Add carrots, sprinkle with salt, stir and cover the pot. Cook until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes more. (Keep in mind that vegetables will continue to cook in the soup). Do not brown.
  • Pour broth into pot with vegetables and heat to a simmer. add noodles and simmer until heated through. Add the meat. then taste broth, add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with fresh chopped herbs