There is nothing quite like homemade chicken soup on a
frigid day and making it is pretty easy. The best part is that
whatever you don't immediately use can be easily frozen and reheated on demand
all winter long!
3 Large Leeks (or 6-8 Small), Trimmed and Cut Into Thin Slices
3 Carrots, Peeled and Diced
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to Taste
0.5 pound Small Shells
Fresh Herbs (Parsley, Dill, or Scallions), Chopped Finely for Serving
In a large soup pot, cover the chicken, carrots (the ones cut into chunks), onions, celery, parsnip, parsley, peppercorns, salt, and bay leaves with cold water. Make sure the water covers everything by 1".
Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is tender. About an hour and a half.
Remove the chicken from the pot (reserve in the fridge for later use) and then continue to simmer the broth until it is concentrated to your liking.
Allow the broth to cool, and then refrigerate it overnight or until a layer of fat has risen to the top.
Skim the fat off the top of the soup, separating 2-3 tablespoons for immediate use and freezing the rest for the future.
Remove the chicken from the fridge and pull the white meat from the breast, shredding it with your hands. You can save the dark meat for a future recipe.
Place 2-3 tablespoons of chicken fat in a soup pot with a lid. Add leeks and heat over medium until leeks begin to cook. Reduce heat to low until leeks soften - just a few minutes more.
Add the peeled and diced carrots and some salt into the pot with the leeks and cook covered for about 5-10 minutes. Once ready, the vegetables should be just tender. You will want to avoid browning the vegetables if possible.
Pour broth into the pot and heat until simmering. Add shells and simmer for 4-5 minutes until tender. Add shredded chicken and heat through, then season with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with fresh herbs and enjoy!