- 2 chickens (3Â½ to 4 pounds each) with giblets (no liver), quartered
- 2 pounds carrots (yes, 2 pounds, not 2 carrots)
- 2 large onions, cut in half
- 5 large ribs celery with leaves, cut in hall
- 2 large parsnips
- 1 small sweet potato (6 ounces), cut in half
- 1 turnip (6 ounces), cut in half
- 1 rutabaga (6 ounces), cut in half
- 1 small celery root, cut in half (optional)
- Â½ large green bell pepper, stemmed and seeded
- Â½ large yellow pepper, stemmed, and seeded
- 2 large bunches dill, coarsely chopped (about Â¼ cups)
- Â½ bunch curly-leaf parsley (about Â¼ cup)
- 3 cloves garlic
- Kosher (coarse) salt and freshly ground block pepper to taste
- Chopped dill for serving (optional)
1. Place the chicken in a 16-quart stockpot and add water to barely cover. Bring just to the boiling point. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and skim off the foam that rises to the top. Add all the remaining ingredients (except the optional chopped dill) and only enough water to come within about two thirds of the height of the vegetables in the pot. (Most recipes will tell you to add water to cover. Do not do this! You want elixir of the gods or weak tea? As the soup cooks, the vegetables will shrink and will be covered soon enough. Eight to 10 cups of water total is plenty for this highly flavorful brew.) Simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1Â½ hours.
2. Remove the chicken and about half the carrots from the pot, and set them aside.
3. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh strainer into another pot or container, pressing on the vegetables to extract all the flavor. Scrape the underside of the strainer with a rubber spatula and add the pulp to the soup. Discard the fibrous vegetable membranes that remain in the strainer. If youâ€™re fussy about clarity (and weâ€™re not), you can strain it again through a fine tea strainer, but there goes some of the flavor. Cover the soup and refrigerate overnight.
4. When you are ready to serve the soup, scoop the congealed fat off the surface and discard it. Reheat, adding more dill if desired (and we do). Slice the reserved carrots, add them to the soup, and serve.