One small to medium sized (organic) whole chicken
5 or 6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into round slices
3 celery ribs, also chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped with skin still on
5 to 6 garlic cloves, peel on, smashed and roughly chopped
A couple sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme and sage
2-3 fresh bay leaves
Optional soup additions for dinner:
1 bunch of swiss chard or fresh spinach leaves
1 cup of cooked rice (either brown or white rice, or barley, or noodles if you prefer.)
1 bunch of fresh chives
In a large pasta or stock pot, sauté chopped onion (with skin on, which adds richness of flavor and color), garlic cloves, and 1 1/2 chopped carrots and celery ribs in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and stir over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
Season whole raw chicken well with salt and pepper inside and out, and add to pot with fresh herbs and bay leaves.
Add about 10-11 cups of water, or until chicken is fully immersed.
Cover pot with lid and bring to a boil, simmer, stirring and skimming off any impurities occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
(Meanwhile, cook rice, barley or pasta separately, according to instructions, if you wish to add these later).
Turn off stove, remove the chicken from the broth, and set aside in a bowl to cool.
Carefully strain broth through a fine-meshed sieve and discard all the veggies and herbs, reserving only the liquid.
Save part of broth for freezing in a separate container, if you wish, and return broth for your super to stock pot.
Bring back to a boil, and add remaining carrots and celery. Simmer for about 4 minutes, then add in chard or spinach and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, until vegetables are just softened.
Serve soup in bowls, adding cooked rice or pasta, and shredded chicken bits, (skin discarded).
Top with finely chopped chives, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, and parmesan cheese, to complete the dish.
Here's to making it through another winter in good health, and to all the delicious food that keeps us going, no matter what hurdles we face.