Oven-Roasted Chicken Soup
Roasting chicken first and then braising it in the oven with sautéed vegetables makes for the best chicken soup. The oven gives the chicken a rotisserie-like tenderness, and the addition of fruit, a trick I learned in the South of France, transforms the broth with sweetness and acidity.
The citrus sourness of limon omani delivers brightness to this soup, celery seeds bring a classic taste, and ginger makes it warming.
Limon Omani Roasted Chicken Soup with Celery Seeds
8 to 12
Lior Lev Sercarz, from "Mastering Spice" by Lior Lev Sercarz
2 whole limon omani (dried Persian lime; 8 grams)
11⁄2 teaspoons celery seeds (3 grams)
1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger (1 gram)
1⁄2 teaspoon peperoncini (dried Calabrian chile) or red pepper flakes (1 gram)
1 whole (3-pound) chicken, quartered (or 2 bone-in, skin-on breasts, 2 bone-in, skin-on thighs, and 2 drumsticks)
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium carrots
1 large parsley root or small celery root
2 small yellow onions
2 large celery stalks
2 Granny Smith apples
4 garlic cloves
For the Spice Blend
Crack and crush the limon omani into smaller pieces by pressing them against a cutting board with your palm. Transfer the pieces to a spice grinder and finely grind. Immediately mix with the whole celery seeds, ginger, and peperoncini.
For the Soup
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Cut the chicken into quarters: Use poultry shears or a sharp knife to cut along one side of the backbone and one side of the breastbone to halve the chicken. Cut each half into two pieces between the breasts and thighs. (If your store sells whole chickens already quartered, you can buy that and skip this step.)
Sprinkle half the spice mix all over the chicken, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle with oil to coat (1 to 2 tablespoons). Place on the prepared pan, skin-side down. Roast until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces over and roast until the other side is browned, about 15 minutes more.
Meanwhile, scrub the carrots and peel the parsley root. Cut the carrots, parsley root, onions, and celery into 11⁄2-inch chunks. Quarter and core the apples. Cut the garlic cloves in half.
Heat a large Dutch oven or other large oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Coat the bottom with oil (2 to 3 tablespoons) and heat until shimmering. Add the vegetables, apples, and remaining spice mix. Stir well, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, 10 to 13 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and add 2 cups water. Stir and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Nestle the chicken into the vegetables. (Keep the oven on.) Pour 1 cup water into the sheet pan to loosen any browned bits and pour into the Dutch oven. Add another 5 cups water. The liquids should just cover the solids. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, and transfer to the oven.
Bake until the chicken and vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes. Transfer the Dutch oven to the stovetop. Uncover the pot and use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to another sheet pan. When cool, peel off the skin, pull out the bones, and return the skin and bones to the soup; shred the cooled meat and set aside.
Simmer the soup on the stovetop over low heat for about 25 minutes and then use a slotted spoon to remove (and discard) the skin and bones. Return the shredded meat to the soup, season to taste with salt, and serve hot.