The leaves on the trees are changing into beautiful colors, although it still feels like summer in Boston. The start of flu season is coming and though not a cure for the common cold, chicken soup is certainly a way to ease the symptoms and make you feel better quicker. There are many recipes for chicken soup, but this one is foolproof and makes a beautiful and flavorful chicken broth. This broth is so delicious that you can drink it like a consommé. This recipe makes quite a bit of wonderful chicken soup, which I recommend freezing, because you never know when you’ll need it.
Place the whole chicken, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme and seasonings in a 12 to 16 quart stockpot. Add enough cold water until the ingredients are covered by a generous 1 inch and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for 2 hours, try not to boil the soup at all. Skim the foam off the top of the stock as it cooks. Remove the chicken and carrots from the pot. Strain the remaining contents of the pot through a colander. Once the stock is refrigerated, you can remove the surface fat. At this point you can pack it in containers and freeze it. I treat this stock like liquid gold, you can use it for so many dishes. I store it in quart size containers, label it and freeze it. Chicken stock can be frozen for up to 6 months.
To serve the soup: Return the stock to the pot once you've strained it. Once cooled, shred the chicken meat into pieces and add back to the stock. Slice the cooked carrots and add to the stock as well. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes to re-heat the vegetables and the chicken. Season to taste.