Berta’s Chicken Stock

The recipe for this all-purpose chicken soup comes from Sheila’s mother, Berta. She’s nurtured her family on it for years. Strain the soup to use as a stock. If a rich stock is needed, cook strained stock over medium-high heat until reduced by half.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken (4 to 5 pounds), preferably a stewing hen
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions
  • 4 ribs celery with leaves
  • 8 sprigs fresh dill
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 3 parsnips, peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Rinse the chicken well and trim off all excess fat. Cut the chicken into quarters and place them in a large soup pot. Add the water and salt, and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam as it collects on the surface.
  2. Add the onions, celery, and dill. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Cut the carrots and parsnips in half and add them to the stock. Simmer until the chicken is fork-tender, about 1 hour.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pot and reserve it for another use. Discard the carrots and parsnips. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, and allow it to cool; then refrigerate or freeze.

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