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
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
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