I've been making this amazing soup for three decades. It is essential in the cold fighting arsenal, and legendary around our neighborhood!
The Best Chicken Soup Ever!
The secret to making good chicken soup is making good chicken broth. Start with an older chicken, preferably a "Grade A" whole roaster, fresh, not frozen. Freezing sucks up and dries out the natural juices. The outside of the chicken should be white not yellow. Chicken should smell fresh and clean. Wash the chicken with fresh lemon juice as soon as it gets home. Cut up 2 fresh lemons per bird and rub all over and in side, do not rinse off lemon.
2 Whole large fresh chickens
1 GAL Pure water
4-6 Fresh lemons
2 12-OZ CANS Chicken broth
2 White onions with skin, cut in half
3 Fresh carrots washed and sliced
3 Celery ribs with leaves, coarsely chopped
5-6 Sprigs fresh parsley
1/4 TSP Crushed red pepper
6 Whole cloves
2 Bay leaves
2 TSP Dried thyme
8 Whole black peppercorns
2 TSP Salt
2 BUNCH Fresh spinach, washed
1 BUNCH Fresh cilantro, washed and diced
1 14-OZ CAN Tomato, diced (I like S&W brand.)
5 STALKS Finely diced celery
1 White onion, chopped fine
1. Use a fresh lemon half to rub down your cutting board. Cut the chicken in half, then remove leg, thigh, wing and breast. Repeat this step with other half and other bird. Remove any fatty looking skin and discard. The next step may be omitted but I highly recommend it. With a heavy cleaver break the bones in the legs, thighs, wings, backs and breast.
2. In a very large stock pot place all chicken, spices and vegetables for broth. Open cans of chicken broth remove fat and add to stock pot, add pure water to cover chicken. Over med. heat bring to a slow boil reduce heat and then simmer for 1-1/2 hours.
3. In the first hour of cooking place the pot half on and half off the burner and do not stir this will cause the impurities to rise to the side away from the heat, a froth will appear, remove with a large spoon and discard. Remove from heat. With large slotted spoon remove all large pieces chicken from broth and pour remaining liquid through a strainer into bowl. Place in refrigerator to cool. Remove all meat from bone -- be careful to check for small pieces of bone. Cut meat into 1/2" cubes. After broth has cooled down spoon off all fat that has risen to top.
4. Pour broth into large stock pot, add chicken, celery and tomato. Over medium-low low heat, simmer for 45 minutes, until celery is tender. Salt to taste. In a large soup bowl place approximately 10-15 spinach leaves and 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro. Ladle in soup and serve immediately. Serve with lemon wedges and chopped white onion, and chili tepins.