8ouncessmall pasta, such as ditalini, pastina, or orzo, or cooked rice
Chopped parsley and dill, to garnish
For the Chicken Stock
Place the whole chicken, whole peeled carrots, celery stalks, onion halves, thyme, parsley, and bay leaves in a large stock pot. PRO TIP: Leave on the onion skin. It will make the stock a darker golden color.
Add enough cold water to just barely cover the chicken, but make sure there is still an inch of space between the water and the rim of the pot. If part of the chicken is still not covered, that's ok. In my pot, this is about 2 1/2 quarts of water.
Bring the pot to a boil, then immediately lower to a very gentle simmer. Let simmer, covered, for three to four hours, and maybe a little longer. Do not stir during this time, and make sure that the broth is not boiling. There should only be small, steady bubbles. (This is a nice window to chop and prep your vegetables for the finished soup.)PRO TIP: Boiling the stock will make the broth cloudy and muddied with impurities. Allowing it to cook at a gentle simmer allows the small bits to settle during cooking. This will make the finished stock clear.
Turn the soup off. Using a large slotted spoon, hand-held strainer, or whatever makes sense to you (I use a 7-inch spider like this), gently lift the whole chicken from the pot and place it in a large bowl. Set aside to cool a bit. Gently remove the carrots, celery, and herbs. Discard.PRO TIP: Why can't you incorporate those vegetables into the finished soup? Because the cooking process has exhausted all of the flavor and nutrients, and the texture of the celery and onions is now far too soft to be appetizing.
Gently ladle -- do not pour -- the stock, one ladle at a time, through a fine mesh strainer into a large, clean bowl or pot. When you get to the bottom of the pot, you will notice a lot of sediment. Tilt the pot on an angle to ladle as much stock as you can while avoiding the sediment, but you will have to discard the stock at the very bottom.
For the Finished Soup
Rinse out the original stock pot and return the strained stock to the pot. Add the fresh carrots, celery, and onion and bring to a boil. Lower to a steady simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.
While the vegetables are cooking, and when cool enough to handle, use your fingers to pull the meat off of the chicken and break it as necessary into big, bite-sized chunks. Be sure to get the leg meat, thighs, breasts, and wings. There is also meat on the back of the chicken. You should end up with a nice mound of meat. Discard the carcass.
Stir the salt, pepper, spinach leaves, and chicken into the soup. Taste for seasoning.
Gently simmer for five to 10 minutes, until the soup comes together. If it looks like the soup is a little too chunky, feel free to add some water. Taste again for seasoning.
Serve with small pasta, and garnish with fresh herbs like parsley and dill.
You will see ingredients like carrots, onion, and celery listed in both ingredient sections. This is mainly because I always get confused when recipes say something like "10 oz. butter, divided," or "1 cup diced onion, divided," and then I have to hunt in multiple areas of the directions to see what portion for this, and what portion for that. But for food shopping's sake, you are going to need the following total quantities: 1 pound of carrots, 1 head of celery, 2 whole onions, plus the roasting chicken, spinach, fresh parsley, dill, bay leaves, and thyme.
A recipe from Unpeeled. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.