- Servings: 8
Photography: DAVID M. RUSSELL
For chicken and broth
- 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds) cut into 8 parts
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 to 2 dried bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 7 to 8 cups water
For garnish vegetables
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces (1 cup)
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1/2 cup)
- 1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (3/4 cup)
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Place chicken in a large stockpot (it should be just large enough to hold chicken with 3 inches of room on top). Add vegetables, herbs, peppercorns, salt, and enough water or stock to just cover chicken. Bring to a boil, skimming foam from surface as necessary, then reduce heat and simmer until chicken is just cooked through (the juices should run clear when pierced and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part should register 160 degrees for breasts and 165 degrees for legs and thighs), 16 to 18 minutes. Use tongs to remove chicken as soon as it is finished cooking. The meat will be added back to the soup later, so it is important not to overcook. When cool enough to handle, pull off and discard the skin, then separate the meat from the bones and tear into bite-size pieces (or dice for a more elegant presentation). You should have about 3 cups chicken (reserve 2 cups for soup and the rest for another use).
Cover chicken and refrigerate until needed. Return the bones to the pot and simmer broth for another hour.
Strain broth through a fine sieve, discarding solids. You should have about 6 cups of broth (add more water if necessary). Skim off fat, then add broth to clean pot. Add carrots, celery, and parsnip, and return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Add reserved 2 cups chicken and cook just to heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately. The chicken and broth can be made up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate separately in covered containers, then proceed to finish the soup. If making ahead (or you desire a lighter broth), refrigerate the broth at least overnight to allow the fat to accumulate at the top, then lift off with a spoon before proceeding.