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 simmer, lower the heat and for the next several minutes, remove any debris that rises to the surface. Add the carrots, celery, parsnip, onion, dill, salt and peppercorns (use a soup bag if you wish). Cover the pan partially and simmer the soup for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until the chicken meat is very soft when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. When cool enough to handle, pour the soup through a strainer or colander into a large bowl or container. 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.) To further clarify the broth, heat the liquid until warm and strain it through a double layer of cheesecloth. Reheat to serve. Serve the soup plain or with the vegetables (cut them up) and chicken (remove the meat from the bones and cut it up). Matzo balls, cooked rice, cooked egg noodle flakes, etc. are optional additions.
Ronnie Fein is a cookbook author, food writer and cooking teacher in Stamford. She is the author of The Modern Kosher Kitchen and Hip Kosher. Visit her food blog, Kitchen Vignettes, at www.ronniefein.com, friend on Facebook at RonnieVailFein, Twitter at @RonnieVFein, Instagram at RonnieVFein.