This is the traditional Portuguese chicken soup that I grew up with. The addition of the lemon juice really brings the soup to life. I highly recommend using a stewing hen over a regular chicken as it makes for a much more flavourful stock. My family swears by the curative powers of this soup, if you're feeling under the weather this is guaranteed to make you feel better. —Ed
Yellow onion diced
Stalk of celery sliced
Stewing hen or whole chicken with legs and thighs removed
Place onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves and salt in a large pot. Add the whole stewing hen. If using a regular chicken, remove the legs and thighs for another use and place the remaining chicken, bones and all, in the pot. Add enough water to cover the chicken (about 8 cups). Bring to a boil then simmer for 1.5 - 2 hours.
Remove chicken from pot and set aside. Add rice or soup pasta to pot and stir. Cook until rice or pasta is done to your liking. Meanwhile, shred chicken, disposing of skin and bones. If using a stewing hen, you may only want to shred the white meat.
When rice or pasta is to your liking, add shredded chicken back to pot along with the juice of 1 lemon. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle thyme leaves on top (optional). Serve with remaining lemon cut into wedges.