Simple Chicken Soup

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“Food is an important part of a balanced diet.”

– Fran Lebowitz


  • 1 stewing or roasting chicken, 5 to 6 pounds, cut into quarters, plus the neck and
    back if available
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional), for
  • 3 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and cut into 2’ pieces
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
  • 5 ribs celery, cut into 2” pieces
  • 3 large onions, peeled and quartered
  •  coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • star anise (optional) 
  • 2 medium sized lemons sliced (optional) 
  • rice or noodles (optional) 
  • serves 6 


  1. Rinse the chicken well and trim off any excess fat. Place the chicken in a large soup pot and add just enough cool water to cover it by 2”. Bring the water to a boil over thigh heat, then reduce the heat to low. Using a large spoon, skim off any foam that accumulates on the surface.
  2. Add the bunch of parsley and the parsnips, carrots, and onion. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes, then remove the chicken breast pieces. Set them aside to cool.
  3. Continue simmering the soup when breast are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones. Return the skin and bone to pot. Refrigerate the meat, covered, until serving time.
  4. Let the soup simmer gently, uncovered, until the broth is rich and flavorful, 2 1/2 to 3 hours to total.
  5. Strain the soup through a sieve into a large, clean pot and discard the solids,
    reserving any of the meat from the thighs and legs, if desired. Season the soups to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Let the fat rise to the surface of the soup, then skim it off with metal spoon or ladle. Shred the reserved chicken meat and add it into the soup. Add the matzoh balls, if using. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until the chicken and matzoh balls are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley, if desired.


  1. GOODMAN, M. and HOLLAND, L., 2006. Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook. Workman Publishing Company.