Homemade Chicken Stock Good for What Ails You

My friend, Marylee Olinger, a talented from scratch cook, called me about a chicken stock recipe adapted from Ina Garten that I published in my syndicated column here in Cincinnati and Northern Ky. ” The recipe didn’t include parsnips and dill which Ina puts in her stock, and so do I”, she said. “Check out that particular stock recipe from Ina online”, Marylee told me. So I did and yes, turns out there’s more than 1 recipe from Ina for great stock. The one I published didn’t have either of those items in it but the one I’m sharing today does.

Parsnips, a member of the carrot family, have vitamin C for our immune systems. The folate parsnips contain make for a healthy heart. Plus we can all use parsnips’ fiber.

I can see why Marylee loves this particular recipe.

One more thing – I have been a judge at the annual chicken soup cook off here in Cincinnati. Some of the best did include dill. A former Jewish colleague made the best chicken soup, too from homemade stock. She put dill in hers, like this recipe. 

Mary Lee’s Favorite Ina Chicken Stock Recipe

Instead of using 3 chickens, Marylee divides the recipe by 2/3 – one chicken, etc. And Marylee doesn’t have a huge stockpot, either. “I just cover the chicken with water to fill the pot”, she says.  Marylee also uses Amish chickens which are more lean than other kinds.  And she saves the cooked chicken to use in her soup.

So by adapting this recipe to a smaller quantity, you can make it too!


  • 3 5-pound roasting chickens
  • 3 large yellow onions, unpeeled, quartered
  • 6 carrots, unpeeled, halved
  • 4 celery stalks with leaves, cut in thirds
  • 4 parsnips, unpeeled, cut in half (optional)
  • 20 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 15 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 20 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, and seasonings in a 16- to 20-quart stockpot. Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 4 hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids. Chill the stock overnight. The next day, remove the surface fat. Use immediately to make soup or whatever,  or pack in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

Why chicken soup is good for you

Chicken soup has been scientifically proven to help relieve cold and flu symptoms. It reduces inflammation, which in turn helps clear mucus and reduces congestion. Also, the hot steam from chicken soup can help relieve congestion.


PS – In case you’re wondering, my chickens DO NOT go into any pot!

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