The first thing you need to do is get yourself a whole chicken (3 1/2-4 lbs.). If you want it to actually taste like chicken, it needs to be farm fresh, organic, and preferably pastured. Here is a list of farmers that can get you chicken(s), or you can get one from a good natural market. While many say their chickens are “free range,” that term doesn’t actually mean much, so ask the butcher about how the chickens were raised.
Here’s the rest of the ingredients list.
2 onions, peeled and cut into large pieces
1-2 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
1-2 celery stalks, washed and cut into large pieces
Some herbs (fresh thyme, a bay leaf, and about 10 parsley stems; if you want to get fancy, tie them all together, using one of the stems, into a bouquet garni)
For the soup:
2 onions, peeled and diced (about 1/2″)
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, washed and diced
4-6 tbs. unsalted (organic) butter
1/2 cup dry white wine or Madeira (or tawny port)
Persillade (crucial to the soup and simple to make; you’ll need a couple peeled garlic cloves, a bunch of finely chopped parsley, and kosher salt)
1 package fresh whole wheat linguine (fresh pasta makes a big difference here)
Salt & pepper to taste
To make stock:
In the morning, rinse the chicken under cold running water and discard innards. Place chicken in a large stockpot or Dutch oven and cover with cold water and a few pinches of kosher salt. Bring to a simmer, but don’t let the chicken boil. Add the (stock) vegetables and herbs. Simmer 1 1/2 hours, occasionally skimming the the layer of fat that forms on the surface of the stock with a wooden spoon or ladle. Remove chicken from the pot and place on a rack (over a sheet pan) to cool. When it’s cool enough to handle, remove the poached meat from the chicken, and put it in the refrigerator. Place the picked-over carcass and bones back into the stockpot and continue cooking for 2 hours. Put a large colander over another stockpot or large bowl and strain the bones, vegetables, and herbs from the stock. Discard the bones, etc. and keep the stock warm in a pot.
Sometime while you’re waiting for the stock to cook, make the persillade: Use a sharp knife to mash the garlic and create a paste with the chopped parsley and salt. Set aside.
To make the soup:
Cook the diced veggies (all should be diced about the same size) in 2-4 tbs. of butter and a pinch of salt over low heat, covered (parchment paper cut or folded into a large circle works best for this, although a few layers of paper towels would work, too), stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. In a separate pot of boiling water, cook pasta until just tender, about 5 minutes or less. Remove soup from heat and finish with salt, pepper, remaining butter, and wine to taste.
To serve: Cut chicken meat into bite-size pieces and place in individual bowls. Drain pasta and divide into the bowls. Top with hot soup, garnish with persillade.