Chicken soup is a typical, relaxed, Sunday evening meal for me and my family. I serve this soup the way my grandmother did, with Parmigiano and olive oil. Every grandmother has a chicken soup recipe, so mine certainly isn’t the definitive recipe, but it’s still my favorite, and I enjoy sharing that with my kids today the same way my grandmother did with me.
1 chicken, quartered, with bones intact (i.e., do not remove breast meat from breastbone, including necks and giblets)
2 carrots, peeled and cut in half
2 celery stalks, washed and cut in half
2 leeks, washed and sliced in half
2 parsnips, peeled and cut in half
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
1 sprig of fresh thyme
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups small shell pasta (optional)
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
Coarse sea salt
1. Place 1 gallon water and the chicken in a stockpot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer gently, skimming regularly, until broth is fragrant, for about 30 minutes.
2. Add the vegetables and thyme and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and divide the cooked pasta among 4 bowls.
4. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and place on a serving dish. Ladle the broth and vegetables over the pasta and serve with grated Parmigiano, more freshly ground black pepper, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired.
5. Sprinkle the chicken with coarse sea salt and serve alongside the soup.
From Craft of Cooking, Clarkson Potter, 2003
Photograph above by Joseph de Leo