- 7 pounds of chicken, a whole bird and parts (for instance, 1 (4-pound) whole chicken, plus 3 pounds combination of wings, thighs, backs, and feet)
- 14 cups cold water 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 medium-large carrots, peeled
- 1/2 large celery root, peeled and halved, or 2 large stalks celery
- 1 medium or 1/2 large parsnip, peeled, and split if large
- 1 large leek, split lengthwise and well washed, with several inches of green
- 1 medium onion, peeled and halved
- Several sprigs of parsley and dill
In a large pot, combine the chicken, water, and salt. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat; let simmer for at least 15 minutes, skimming off any scum that comes to the surface. Stir chicken once or twice during process; it helps loosen the schmutz for skimming.
When the liquid is releasing only white foam, add the carrots, celery root, parsnip, leek, and onion. Simmer, uncovered, very gently but steadily, 3 to 4 hours. Add the parsley and dill for the last 30 minutes only.
Remove from the heat, let the soup cool to tepid, then refrigerate overnight so that fat hardens on the surface and can be easily removed. Don't skim off every last bit of fat; a few beads of fat in each bowl of soup add aroma and flavor. (Reserve the skimmed chicken fat-schpTaltz. It is an excellent cooking fat.)
Strain broth through a colander. Pick out the carrots and parsnip you may want to use to serve in the soup. Press remaining solids slightly to extract all the soup. If you press hard, the soup will become cloudy—but that's an option if you want more flavor. What you gain in flavor, you lose in clarity. Discard solids.
Reheat broth; serve as a clear soup, with additions of either matzo balls, kreplach, lukshen, or soup nuts (mandlen). "Unborn eggs," the yolks that could be found in the tubes of a slaughtered pullet (young hen), used to garnish chicken soup. Now they are very hard to find, but you can easily fake it by adding hardcooked egg yolks to the hot soup.
To have vegetables fresher than the soup vegetables to put in the soup, ladle off just enough broth to cook a carrot and a parsnip until tender. Or use water to do this. Serve each bowl of soup with a few rounds of carrot and a chunk or strip of parsnip. If you have used broth, you can add it back to the soup.