Put all into a 12 qt pot and simmer for 2-3 hours. Use a hen, it won't break down as quick as a chicken (the meat does not come out dry or stringy) and has more flavor. Check the soup for flavor, add more salt if needed. Turn the burner off and allow soup to set for an hour. Strain the entire pot, remove and keep the hen and carrots. We mash the carrots and put them back into the soup, the rest of the vegetables are discarded (no one likes mushy celery or onions).
Keep the hen meat in a separate container. If kept in the soup, it will lose it's texture. The hen meat can also be saved and used in sandwiches or a pie (thicken 2 cups of chicken soup for the gravy and top with a pie crust or mashed potatoes).
Tip: use a pasta pot, that way you can pull out all the meat and vegetables at once - makes it easier to break it down. You still should strain the liquid to catch all the smaller pieces and peppercorns.
By Elena from Palm Bay, FL
Where's the garlic? Or the starch (noodles, potatoes, even beans)? Or the basil and oregano? What kind of Italian soup is this, anyway? Just kidding - this does sound good!
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