This recipe makes 3-3 1/2 quarts of soup broth
Kosher Key: Meat
Total Time: 2 Hours
- 1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs.
- 6 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 6 celery stalks, peeled and sliced (including leaves)
- 1 brown (yellow) onion, skin on, rinsed and sliced in two halves
- Handful of fresh parsley
- Handful of fresh dill
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- 3 whole cloves (optional- I add more because I like a strong clove flavor)
- 2 bay leaves
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp saffron threads (optional– adds a rich yellow color and depth of flavor to the broth; only use high-quality expensive saffron, the other kind has no flavor)
- Place the chicken into a large stock pot.
- Cover with 4 quarts of water.
- Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Let the chicken boil for 10-15 minutes, skimming the foam and particles that rise to the surface of the water periodically, till most of the foam is gone.
- Replenish the liquid that was removed during scumming with hot water (it’s usually around 1-2 cups).
- Do a final skimming to remove any leftover foam.
- Add the carrots, celery, onion, parsley, dill, peppercorns, and cloves to the pot.
- Add 1 tbsp kosher salt to the water (if you’re salt sensitive or using a kosher salted bird, salt less).
- Bring back to a simmer.
- Put the lid on the pot and vent it.
- Reduce heat to medium low so the soup is slowly simmering (not boiling- a rolling boil will make the stock cloudy, a slow simmer should do it. Let the soup cook for 90 minutes.
- After 90 minutes of cooking, when the chicken is tender, turn off the heat.
- Use a pair of tongs to carefully pull the chicken from the broth. Put it on a plate. Taste the chicken broth and season with additional salt, if desired. Allow the chicken and the broth to cool.
- Carefully strain the broth into another pot through a mesh strainer. Reserve the cooked carrots and celery for later, if you wish; discard the spices, herbs, and onion halves.
- When the soup is completely cool, you can skim the fat from the top of the broth if you want to– it will come off in a gel-like layer. I actually don’t like to skim the fat, especially for holidays; a few droplets on the surface make the broth silky and give it flavor.
- If you are adding the saffron, crush the threads into powder, then stir them into the broth. Saffron adds a depth of flavor and a deep golden color to the broth. It’s got a distinctive essence, so don’t add it unless you’re sure you like it.
- If you are cooking something in your broth, like matzo balls or kreplach, bring the broth to a boil and cook them in the broth before adding back in the reserved vegetables or chicken pieces. Do a final tasting and adjust seasoning, adding more salt to taste if desired. Some people prefer to cook their matzo balls in salted water in a separate pot, because a lot of the soup gets soaked up by the matzo balls. Personally I prefer cooking the matzo balls in the soup, as they turn out more flavorful this way. That said, if you’re feeding a big crowd and need to stretch your soup, cooking the matzo balls in salted water (or another pot of broth) is the way to go.
- Add the cooked vegetables and/or chicken pieces back to the broth at the very end, for the last few minutes of cooking, until warmed through.
- Serve hot.
Sometimes I add a little more chopped fresh dill to the broth before serving. I love dill.