I have meant to share this recipe with y'all so many times. However, the cookbook (my beloved The New Doubleday Cookbook) is huge and the idea of lugging it to the office (yes, I do too much blogging at work!) stopped me until this time.
Today I am at home waiting for the oven repairman to come (scheduled time between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ... and you thought that cable companies were bad about making people wait upon their convenience) and so have remembered to type this in.
This is a family favorite. My own family made it often in the sumer as I was growing up, although not from this recipe. It always was one of those "no recipe" dishes as I recall. When I came across this recipe it added just enough "umph" to make it even more savory and tooth licking (the addition of tomatoes and a bit of sugar to the broth are the essentials of what is different). I always make a half recipe because that makes plenty for a meal and gives us half left for the freezer.
Serve it with biscuits, preferably those dead easy Cream Biscuits or Skillet Cornbread ... both are so delicious with honey.
1 (6-pound) stewing hen, cleaned and dressed
1 gallon cold water
2 stalks celery (include tops)
1 tablespoon sugar
5 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2" cubes
3 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped (I leave the onion whole and put it in at the beginning to flavor the broth, then discard it afterward)
6 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped (I substitute two 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes, drained)
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen baby lima beans (do not thaw)
1 (10-ounce) packages frozen whole kernel corn (do not thaw)
1 medium-size sweet green pepper, cored and cut in short, thin slivers (I don't use this)
2 tablespoons salt (I use 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (I use more)
Remove fat from body cavity of bird, then place gird and giblets in a very large kettle. Add water and celery, cover, and simmer 1-2 hours until just tender. Remove bird and giblets from broth and cool. Strain broth and skim off fat. Rinse kettle, pour in broth, add sugar, all vegetables but corn and green pepper, cover, and simmer 1 hour. Meanwhile, skin chicken, cut meat in 1" chunks and dice giblets. Return chicken and giblets to kettle, add remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for salt, adding more if needed. Serve piping hot in soup bowls as a main dish. particularly good with coleslaw and Hushpuppies or crisp corn sticks.