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Poached Chicken Soup

(recipe, Ellen Jackson)


Read more about cooking four meals from a single chicken in Ellen Jackson's "One chicken, four meals."


  1. 1 organic chicken (4 to 5 pounds), rinsed and whole legs removed
  2. 1 qt. chicken stock, preferably homemade
  3. 6 cups water
  4. 6 carrots, cut in large chunks
  5. 6 stalks celery, cut in large pieces
  6. 2 onions, cut in large chunks
  7. 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  8. 6 peppercorns
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 3 sprigs parsley
  11. 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  12. Chopped fresh seasonal vegetables, such as fennel, leeks, carrots, peas, new potatoes, green garlic, haricots verts, and/or asparagus
  13. 4 to 6 oz. small noodles, such as spaghettini or orzo, or matzo balls or dumplings (optional)
  14. Juice of one lemon
  15. ½ cup parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  16. Parmesan cheese


  1. Set the chicken in a deep pan or stockpot. Add the stock, water, and several generous pinches of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Skim foam from the surface and add the carrots, celery, onions, garlic, peppercorns, and herbs. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until cooked through, about 50 to 70 minutes, turning the chicken over occasionally so that it cooks evenly.
  2. Remove the chicken from the pot, strain the liquid into a large bowl, and discard the cooked vegetables and herbs. Transfer the liquid back to the pot and add the fresh seasonal vegetables and, if desired, the noodles, dumplings, or matzo balls. Simmer the broth until the vegetables and starches are cooked. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and add the lemon juice and chopped parsley.
  3. Meanwhile, remove the skin from the chicken and discard it. Use a fork to remove and shred the meat. Put half the meat, covered, in the fridge for leftovers the next day; put the other half into the simmering soup to warm through.
  4. Ladle some of the chicken, vegetables, and starches into individual bowls, then spoon more broth into each bowl. Garnish with freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese.