Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Makes 14 cups of stock
3 tablespoons salt for cleansing (optional)
1 celery stalk, leaves included
1/2 bunch parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
Cut the chicken in 4 pieces, then cut off visible fat and any excess skin and discard. Place the pieces in a large stockpot, sprinkle 3 tablespoons of salt over it, mix well and let sit for 2 minutes.
Peel, wash and cut the onion and carrot in quarters, wash and cut the celery in 4 or 5 pieces, using the leaves also for added flavor, then wash the parsley.
Rinse the chicken, add 4 quarts of water and the rest of the ingredients to the stockpot and bring to a fast boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is well cooked.
Let it cool, then remove the fat over the top with a slotted spoon.
The chicken pieces can be served with cooked leafy vegetables such as steamed spinach or chard, and bread. The broth can be used for stock or for the Stracciatella recipe and the Pastina (small pasta comes in several different shapes, including pepper seeds, little stars, rice, and so many more shapes.
A favorite in our family is to pick some of the chicken meat off the bones, chop it and put it back in the pastina soup along with the vegetables cut in small pieces.
It was believed when I was growing up, that chicken broth was ideal for women in their early post-partum days as it would aid the milk production for breast feeding.
The women bringing the chicken soup to the table always got merciless teasing from the men in the family. You could almost predict their smart remarks. My favorite was always the one about the broth being wasted on them as they had no intention of producing milk for breast feeding and bring them the pasta!"
It never failed to bring smiles and laughter. That's how the joking and the teasing started and as the afternoon were on, and the empty wine jugs were replaced with the full a few times, the atmosphere became more and more "allegra" (jovial) which made for a pleasant day for everyone.