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Lily Vail’s Old-Fashioned Chicken Soup


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Lily Vail’s Old-Fashioned Chicken Soup


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Lily Vail’s Old-Fashioned Chicken Soup


  • Prep Time : 20 min
  • Cook Time : 2 hour, 30 min
  • Ready Time : 2 hour, 50 min


8 Servings


  • 1 large whole chicken, preferably a kosher pullet
  • water
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 3 stalks celery, peeled
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled
  • 1 large onion, left whole but peeled
  • small bunch of fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or salt to taste
  • 6-8 whole black peppercorns


Wash the chicken inside and out, remove pinfeathers and hairs and place it in a soup pot. Pour enough water in the pot to cover the chicken by 1-inch.

Bring the liquid to a boil, lower the heat, and for the next several minutes, remove any scum that rises to the surface. Add the carrots, celery, parsnip, onion, dill, salt and peppercorns.

Cover the pan partially and simmer the soup for 2-1/2 hours or until the chicken meat is very soft when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Pour the soup through a strainer or colander into a large bowl or a second pot. Set the chicken and vegetables aside. Remove the fat from the surface of the liquid with a spoon or fat-skimming tool or by patting paper towels on the surface.

For best results, refrigerate the strained soup; when it is cold, the fat will rise to the surface and harden and you can scoop it off. (Refrigerate the vegetables and the chicken separately.) Serve the soup plain or with the vegetables (cut them up) and chicken (remove the meat from the bones and cut it up).

About Ronnie Fein


Ronnie Fein has been a freelance food and lifestyle writer since 1980. She has her own food blog, called Kitchen Vignettes. Ronnie is the author of Hip Kosher and operates the Ronnie Fein School of Creative Cooking in Stamford, Connecticut, where she lives with her husband. She has two married daughters and four grandchildren.




15 Responses to Lily Vail’s Old-Fashioned Chicken Soup

  1. i added a variety of root veggies to this [celery root, leek, 1-clove garlic, etc ] fabulous setup for the family . . kosher penicillin, & now there’s scientific proof !

  2. avatar says: Martha

    I notice youdon’t put any garlic cloves in your chicken soup. Any reason why?

    I’ve been under the weather last few days. Suddenly had the urge for a chicken in a pot. Got a lovely little Bell and Evans birrd simmering away on the stove as we speak. I agree – parnsips add sooo much to the soup.

    Can’t wait. Gotta run. Time to skim off the foam!

    • Wow, just noticed this! I don’t use garlic I suppose because my mother didn’t! Just not part of the family recipe.

  3. One of my friends was diagnosed with pneumonia and I used this recipe and made chicken soup from scratch for the first time. It is absolutely delicious. I kept some of the leftover chicken and vegies, mixed them with cooked brown rice and served my family the chicken stew for dinner. Wonderful!!!!!

  4. This is my first introduction to your website, I found few interesting recipes,I am making the chicken soup and looking forward to making the Italian wedding soup.

  5. avatar says: Eleanor

    this was delicous , love all your recipes,

  6. avatar says: viren

    notice the soup bit yellow. is there any tumeric or other spices in there ??

    • Nope! Just what I listed in the recipe. I think the color may have to do with what chickens you buy I(for this photo I used Fairway kosher roasting chicken).

    • avatar says: sandy

      I thought the soup should have a tint of yellow

  7. I buy extra legs and roast them separately….then add to broth while stewing. The taste is extra rich and the color glorious….golden brown!

  8. Soups or any other dish for my Hebrew friends and the rest of my family…A brisk recipe would be great too.!

  9. I would like to see some chicken, brisket, corned beef and pickle recipes.

    I guess you can tell that I grew up in Brooklyn

  10. avatar says: Cathy

    I remember my mom also holding the chicken over the gas flame to remove the pin feathers and hairs! We had a nearby poultry market with chickens so fresh they were still warm when you brought them home! Making this on Sunday!

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