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Nancy's Homemade Jewish Chicken Soup
Good for What Ails You

Ingredients

1 chicken, at least 3 - 4 pounds, cut up into 8 or 9 pieces
1 tablespoon of salt, more to taste
some pepper
bunch of parsley
bunch of dill
bunch of celery
1 1/2 - 2 pounds of carrots
1 1/2 - 2 pounds of onions
2 or 3 parsnips are nice too, but not required
lots of water

Directions

Put cleaned chicken in the bottom of a large pot.

Cover the chicken with water and add salt. Your pot should be less than two-thirds full.

Bring to a full boil over high heat. Skim off any foam that may develop, preferably into a fat skimmer. Throw out the foam, but put the water back into the soup pot.

Add the pepper and all the parsley and dill. Also add the heart, the leaves, and a few stalks of the celery.

Cut about of the carrots & onions into chunks. Also one of the parsnips if you're using them.

Add the chopped carrots, etc.

Slowly boil all this for as long as you can bear it. Three hours is ideal. Two will do. Add extra water as needed to keep the pot around two-thirds full. If you have a fat skimmer, repeatedly skim off the fat that comes to the top. If you don't, before the soup can be eaten, you'll have to leave it in the refrigerator for quite some time (probably over night), until the fat on top solidifies and can be lifted off. If you have no room in the fridge, the trunk of your car will work, assuming it's cold outside.

After the stock has cooked for two to three hours, turn off the heat. Then carefully remove everything from the liquid, placing it all in a colander that's sitting in a big bowl. The stock should go back into the soup pot. The chicken, vegetables, and herbs should be left to cool for about half an hour.

In the meantime, dice up lots of celery and the remaining carrots and onions. Parsnips too, if you're using them. If you're going to make matzoth balls, prepare and refrigerate them -- batter recipe follows.

Bring the soup back to a boil and add the chopped vegetables. Cook for about half an hour more. At the same time, add pieces of chicken to the pot, completely boning the chicken as you go along. (The vegetables used in making the stock can be eaten as is, chopped and added to the soup, put in your compost pile, or just thrown out.)

Check the seasoning. You'll probably want to add more salt and pepper. Then add the matzoth balls and cover the pot.

Turn the matzoth balls occasionally, and cook for another 30 minutes or so. The soup will be delicious its first day - and better the next. Store any leftover soup in the refrigerator. I store it right in the pot.

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