Parsley (or Celery) Root and Chicken Soup

Cooking has always served as a connection with my home, with my family. While I love trying new recipes and learning new things, I cherish the recipes handed down to me by the people I love. This recipe comes from my Aunt Donna.

My Aunt Donna might be one of the happiest people I’ve ever met.  Every moment I’ve ever spent with her has been filled with laughter.  She lives outside of Chicago and believe it or not, I’ve never been there.  It’s kind of ludicrous, really.  It’s supposed to be one of the best cities in the States and I adore her and my uncle Matt.  Even my husband has visited.  I guess we were always lucky because they have always come to visit us.

When I moved back to the United States from Chile and was living in Texas, I wanted to start compiling some family recipes.  I called my grandmother to ask her for her recipe for her chicken soup with rice recipe and she offered to send it to me, but told me that the person who made the best chicken soup in our entire family was my Aunt Donna. So I asked Aunt Donna for her recipe and it’s one of the best chicken soups I’ve ever had.  That being said, it will take the better part of the afternoon to make it, but it’s the real deal.

The original recipe calls for parsley root.  To this day, I have never been able to find it.  I use a combination of 1 parsnip and 1 medium celery root (celeriac).

Aunt Donna’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 lb. whole chicken or combination bone-in chicken breasts, legs and thighs
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon reserved
  • 3.5-5 quarts water
  • 5 stalks celery
  • 1 lb. onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 lb carrots, chopped into small circles
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 1 lb. parsley root, parnips or celery root, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 10 whole peppercorns

  1. Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stock pot.  Cover the chicken with 3.5-4 quarts water.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt, onion quarters and celery stalks.
  3. Bring pot to a roaring boil and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes.
  4. As pot boils, skim off any white froth that floats to the top.
  5. Place bunch of dill in a bath of cold water with 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt.  Swish around water to clean off any dirt or debris.  Strain.
  6. After broth has boiled for 15 minutes, add bunch of dill to the boiling water, reduce heat to a simmer.
  7. Add carrots, parsley root, parsnips and or celery root.
  8. Add peppercorns and remaining 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt.
  9. Cover, then allow to simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours.
  10. Remove from heat.
  11. Carefully remove chicken breast, place on cutting board to cool.
  12. Using a fine strainer or cheesecloth, strain broth into a separate pot so that vegetables are removed and broth is mostly clear.  Remove any large pieces of chicken that are still intact and place them on the cutting board with the chicken breast.  Discard cooked vegetables, reserving some of the carrots to return to the broth if desired.  I ate a few of the cooked parsnips before I tossed them.
  13. Once chicken has cooled so that you do not burn your fingers when you touch it, remove any remaining skin and begin to scrape breast meat off of the bone.  Place meat back in the pot with the strained chicken broth.
  14. Allow pot of broth to cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate overnight.
  15. In the morning, scrape away as much of the fat that has congealed on the surface as possible.  Reheat.  Serve piping hot with cooked egg noodles, my Aunt recommends Manischewitz.

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