I'm always amazed by how often I get asked for this recipe because it's so incredibly simple.
I usually buy the organic chickens at Trader Joe's or Costcos. There are two variations to this recipe and I'm not sure which one I like better. The first option is to use a whole
uncooked chicken. Put it in a very large pot filled with water and low boil it for about an
hour and 15 minutes. The second way is to take the same chicken and roast it in the oven. I use the Thomas Keller's fast roast method and eat it as normal. Then take the carcass and put it in a large pot with lots of water and again boil on a low boil for between an hour and an hour and half.
In either case remove the chicken or the chicken carcass from the pot and strain out all the yucky parts.
Then add all of the vegetables; I like to use:
4 or 5 stalks of celery
4 or 5 carrots
1 large onion
2 sweet potatoes
1 bunch of kale.
The sweet potatoes and kale are the more unusual parts of the recipe and I suspect that they are very important for getting the right flavor. All of the veggies should be cut reasonably uniformly in size except for the kale which I chop very finely (great way to get dark leafy greens into the kids).
Also add the spices now. I use quite a few shakes of garlic powder but only a little salt because I preferred that the diner salt to taste. I also use miscellaneous herbs, or dried spices; Mediterranean style spices work well or add a mix like Trader Joe's 21 spice mix. They used to have a great mix called Pasta Seasoning mix but they seem to have discontinued it. Usually I add a little cumin as well.
While it's cooking, and once the chicken is cool, remove whatever meat is left on the bone and chop it into small pieces in order to add it right near the end of the cooking time.
I usually cook the veggies for about 45 minutes.
I think that's about it. It really is incredibly easy. My kids will eat it three times a day until it's gone. One of my friends in Toronto calls it "Kai soup" in his honor.