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Course: appetizer, main course
Total time: under 2 hours
Skill level: Moderate
Cost: Inexpensive
Yield: Serves 10 as a main course
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Notes

In this version of my mother’s chicken soup I combine the best of two worlds—fine home cooking and fine restaurant cooking—to create a more intensely flavorful version of a classic comfort food. By cooking the chicken in chicken stock, rather than simply in water, you double the flavor. It’s the same technique I use at Chanterelle to prepare consommé for the restaurant menu. The soup’s richly concentrated taste is the very essence of the bird as well as a perfect vehicle for Homemade Matzoh Balls.

The matzoh balls can be poached right in the chicken soup toward the end of the final simmering, or poached separately in chicken stock in another pan, then drained and added to the soup just before serving. Either method results in good flavor, although poaching matzoh balls in the soup does make it cloudy and a little less appetizing looking. Since I always have plenty of chicken stock in the restaurant, I usually poach them separately.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 1 bunch fresh chervil or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 quarts Chicken Stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 whole chickens (about 3½ pounds each), quartered
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 5 large parsnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch rounds
  • Coarse (kosher) salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Homemade Matzoh Balls (optional)

Directions

1. Using butcher’s twine, tie the dill, chervil, and parsley together in one big bunch. (If you’re using tarragon, just sprinkle it in after you pour the stock into the pot.) Place the bunch of herbs in a very large stockpot along with the chicken stock and chicken pieces. Set the pot over high heat and bring to a boil, skimming the surface as the foam rises to the top. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer the broth until the chickens are just cooked through, about 45 minutes. Test for doneness by piercing a thigh with a fork; the juices should run clear.

2. Carefully remove the chicken pieces from the broth and set aside to cool. Remove and discard the herb bundle.

3. Add the onion, carrots, and parsnips to the broth and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes; a fork should pierce quite easily through a piece of carrot (see Note).

4. While the vegetables cook, remove the skin from the chicken pieces and pull the meat from the bones. Discard the skin and bones. Coarsely chop the meat and add it to the soup, simmering it for 10 minutes longer to reheat. Remove the pot from the heat and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving

Nutritional information does not include Chicken Stock recipe. For nutritional information on Chicken Stock recipe, please follow the link above.

Nutritional information does not include Homemade Matzoh Balls recipe. For nutritional information on Homemade Matzoh Balls recipe, please follow the link above.

Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.

245kcal (12%)
68mg (7%)
21mg (36%)
512mcg RAE (17%)
790mg
64mg
31g
7g
5g
19g
97mg (32%)
155mg (6%)
1g (6%)
5g (7%)
2mg (11%)