Whether you are sick or it's cold outside, or you just want something yummy & comforting, there is absolutely nothing better than some homemade chicken soup. It takes a little work to make the stock, but it's definately worth it, and you can freeze it for soup, or in ice cube containers to add to recipes.
Homemade Chicken Stock
1 small stewing chicken, cut up
4-5 lbs chicken bones/parts, backs, wings, necks
1 large onion, peel on, quartered
2 parsnips, peel on, cut in half or thirds
2 stalks celery with leaves, cut in half
2 carrots, peel on, halved or thirds
4-5 leek leaves, or the white part sliced in half
water to cover ingredients
10 sprigs of fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1 or 2 of sprigs of fresh thyme
1 head of garlic halved
1 teaspoon of mixed peppercorns
Put chicken and the remaining ingredients up to the leeks. in a large stockpot. Fill with water till it ingredients are covered by a couple of inches of water and bring to a boil, uncovered.
Once boiling, reduce heat to a medium simmer, and skim the scum from the surface with a small fine strainer till liquid is clear. Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer on low for 2.5-3 hours. Check a couple of times to see if additional skimming is needed.
Let soup cool for 10 minutes, then strain with a fine strainer into another stockpot. Discard the solids. Strain again, and put pot in a sink full of cold water till cooled. Put in refridgerator, let sit overnight, and re-skim the surface for fat.
Use stock for soup or freeze for later use.
Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup
After making stock, I'll simmer some chicken breasts in store bought broth with 2 cloves of garlic, and in another pot simmer diced carrots, onions, celery, parsnips and parsley. In the last 6-8 minutes of cooking, I add some small soup noodles and cook till al dente.
I drain the chicken, and partially shred, cut in rough pieces, and drain the veggies/noodles. For the soup, simply heat some stock, chicken & veggies, with salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes.