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Lily Vail’s Old-Fashioned Chicken Soup

old fashioned chicken soup

There is no magic so wonderful or remarkable as a bowl of Jewish Chicken Soup. People joke about its curative powers. But regardless of whether there are any real medicinal properties, there are few foods quite as comforting as this one, especially in the depth of winter when you need a little something to warm you up inside and out.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 8Servings


  • 1 large whole chicken, preferably a kosher pullet
  • water
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 3 stalks celery, peeled
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled
  • 1 large onion, left whole but peeled
  • small bunch of fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or salt to taste
  • 6-8 whole black peppercorns


Wash the chicken inside and out, remove pinfeathers and hairs and place it in a soup pot. Pour enough water in the pot to cover the chicken by 1-inch.

Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat, and for the next several minutes, remove any scum that rises to the surface. Add the carrots, celery, parsnip, onion, dill, salt and peppercorns.

Cover the pan partially and simmer the soup for 2-1/2 hours or until the chicken meat is very soft when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Pour the soup through a strainer or colander into a large bowl or a second pot. Set the chicken and vegetables aside. Remove the fat from the surface of the liquid with a spoon or fat-skimming tool or by patting paper towels on the surface.

For best results, refrigerate the strained soup; when it is cold, the fat will rise to the surface and harden and you can scoop it off. (Refrigerate the vegetables and the chicken separately.) Serve the soup plain or with the vegetables (cut them up) and chicken (remove the meat from the bones and cut it up).