This is my favorite chicken soup recipe from the Old Farmer's Almanac. I make it anytime my family is under the weather, and it never fails to do the trick. It might not make you well, but it will make you feel better! I also make it just for the heck of it because it's sooooo yummy.
You can cheat and use canned chicken stock -- but it won't be the same. Yield: 8 to 10 servings
4 quarts cold water
1 4- to 5-pound chicken, quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped (or diced, your preference)
4 to 5 stems parsley
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
a couple of handfuls of rice or egg noodles, optional (I like the egg noodles)
Measure water into a large soup pot and add all the ingredients. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, then immediately reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours, using a spoon to frequently skim the soup as well as possible. Remove from heat and cool. Skim fat from the surface and strain the soup. Wash out the soup pot and return the strained stock to the pot.
Remove and discard bay leaf and parsley. Mash the carrots, celery, and garlic and stir them into the soup. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken, chop the meat and add to the soup. (If the chicken meat has completely fallen apart, that's ok, too; just use as is, with bones removed.) Heat and season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Enjoy!