***Soup*** 4 pounds whole chicken water just to cover chicken 2 pounds chicken wings 2 large stalks celery with a few leaves 2 large carrots, cut into 3" chunks 2 parsnips, scraped and cut in chunks 1/3 cup parsley, finely minced 4 good sprigs fresh dill, broken in half 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns salt and ground pepper, to taste ***Soda Cracker Dumplings*** 2 large eggs 1/2 cup chicken broth or water 2 tablespoons oil 1 cup soda cracker crumbs, or a bit more 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 pinch black pepper
To make the soup, rinse the chicken well. Place chicken and wings in a large soup or stock pot. Cover with cold water that should just cover top of chicken.
Bring water to a boil, skimming off any foam that forms. Reduce to a medium simmer and add vegetables, salt and pepper. Cover partially and simmer for 2 hours.
When the soup is done, let it cool until you can strain it. Strain off everything but the soup. Save chicken pieces for chicken salad filling or chicken for pot pie.
If you like, add in fresh diced carrots and celery (about a cup each) and a bit more minced parsley. The fresh vegetables are to be eaten in the soup as it simmers (whereas the discarded ones were used to flavor the soup, i.e. they did their duty for the cause).
If not serving the soup right away, refrigerate it overnight and skim off the fat the next day, and then, as it warms up, add in fresh vegetables. You can serve this with fresh cooked egg noodles you add in or with the dumplings.
For the dumplings, whisk eggs with the chicken broth and oil to blend. Add remaining ingredients. Add salt and/or pepper to taste. Mixture should be stiff; add in more cracker meal if necessary. Refrigerate mixture one hour.
Fill a Dutch oven with water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a rolling boil. Scoop spoonfuls of cracker mixture and drop into boiling water. Reduce heat, cover pot and let dumplings simmer on low about 30 minutes.
Gently remove dumplings from the water and drain. Place into chicken soup. Serve 1 or 2 dumplings per bowl.