The secret to good chicken soup is chicken. That seems so obvious, but apparently many cooks ignore that. Some make chicken soup with beautiful ingredients and just before serving, in order to give the bowls a boost, they add powdered chicken broth at the end. The soup gets that unmistakable yellow color with tiny bits of dried herbs in it. Add more chicken and you'll get all the flavor you need. One parsnip adds a nice sweet taste, but sometimes smells strong while cooking. Add plenty of carrots and don't bother to cut them up. Just lay them whole in the bottom of the pot. Cut up the onions, however, since they will not fall in half when you lift them out. Once the soup is made, separate the liquid from the solids and refrigerate them separately. Skim the fat from the broth. Remove all the meat from the bones, and combine everything to reheat. The recipe came to me from Sally Shapiro of Providence. I make it once a week from October through May. If you have a small pressure cooker, you'll have to divide this recipe in half, which is easy enough to do.
Pressure-cooker chicken soup
6 carrots (leave whole)
3 medium onions, chopped
1 parsnip (leave whole)
6 stalks fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1 chicken (3 1/2 pounds), cut into quarters
2 split chicken breasts
1 tablespoon kosher salt
12 cups water
1. In a pressure cooker, lay the carrots, onions, parsnip, parsley, bay leaf, and peppercorns in the bottom. Add the chicken pieces with the neck and gizzard, extra breasts, and salt. Pour in the water.
2. Lock the lid and set over high heat to bring the pressure up. Adjust the heat to maintain medium pressure and cook for 15 minutes exactly. (Important: do not leave the kitchen while the pressure cooker is on; modern cookers are perfectly safe, but you still need to babysit.)
3. Let the pressure cooker sit for 5 minutes. Carefully carry the cooker to the sink and run very cold water onto the top to bring the pressure down. You'll hear the valve make a big sigh. When it's safe to remove the lid, lift it off.
4. Let the soup cool for 20 minutes. With tongs, transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Put the vegetables into one container, tip the broth into another. Discard the parsley, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Let everything cool.
5. Refrigerate the broth. Remove the meat from the chicken bones and transfer the meat to the vegetables. Refrigerate.
6. Remove the fat from the broth. Tip the broth into a soup pot. Add the vegetables and chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Adapted from "The Way We Cook"
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