* Two 6-to-8-pound stewing hens, including neck and giblets but not the liver
* 5 to 6 quarts water
* 4 large onions, halved
* 6 carrots, scraped and cut into large chunks
* 15 parsley sprigs
* 10 peppercorns, crushed
1. Remove the fat from the cavities of the hens and set aside for rendering
2. Place one hen in a stockpot with the water and half of the vegetables. The ingredients should barely be covered with water.
3. Bring to a boil and immediately lower the heat. Skim the foam that rises to the surface and adjust the heat so that only a bubble or two appears on the surface of the liquid. Add the parsley sprigs and peppercorns, partially cover the pot, and simmer for about 2 hours, skimming occasionally. The hen should be tender but not falling apart.
4. Remove the hen to a large platter, and when it is cool enough to handle remove the meat from the bones. Cook for another hour or so. Strain the soup into a large bowl and discard everything in the strainer. Cool the soup and refrigerate overnight. Remove the fat that has hardened on the surface.
5. For a really superb soup, start again with the just-made defatted chicken stock, the remaining vegetables, the second hen, and more water if necessary to cover the ingredients.
6. Serve with chopped dill, parsley, and kneidlach or mandlen.