Monday, April 25, 2011

Chicken Broth - (Brodu tat-Tigieg)

"Brodu" is so much more than a simple chicken stock in Malta.  It's a hearty meal, with 2 courses,  a delicious brothy soup, and then the chicken itself, served with steamed/boiled vegetables, potatoes and crusty bread. 

When I used to make this soup in Melbourne with my best mate and her partner, we'd eat soup on one day, have chicken pie the next with the leftover chicken, and any leftover soup would be used as a broth to make risotto the day after.  This is a fantastic way of getting all you can out of one chicken.  And so tasty!
Just ready.

I like to make this the day before I'm going to use it, and leave it in the fridge overnight.  The fat rises to the top, and is easily removed the next day with a spoon.  This does not make the soup any less tasty, I swear! 

One other note is that this soup really benefits from less water rather than more.  Literally only pour enough water into the pot to just cover the chicken, and use a pot where the chicken fits comfortably, but is not swimming in it.  You can always add more water later. 

This makes a fantastic stock, however if you would just like to make a stock to use in another dish, see notes on the bottom! :) 

Ingredients (see bottom for stock recipe)
2 carrots
2 onions
some Celery (leaves and small stalks only if possible, in Maltese it's "karfus")
Qarabali (Zucchini/courgettes) - 2 small-medium ones.
Mixed herbs (I used Herbes de Provence)
Salt, pepper, olive oil.
3 or 4 garlic cloves
I whole chicken, with neck/giblets included. 

Wash and dry the chicken, trimming off all the visible fat and if you choose, remove the skin. 

Prepare a pot big enough to fit the chicken comfortably.  Put the heat on low, add olive oil, and chuck in the chopped carrots, onions, celery zucchini and garlic. Cover and "sweat" for a few minutes until the onions are slightly translucent.

Sweating the stock vegetables

Add the whole chicken, and pour enough water to just cover it.  No more!  you can always add a bit more later. Add some herbs, and a generous amount of salt and pepper.  A couple of bay-leaves never hurt either! :)
ready to cover and turn it right down
Bring to the boil, then cover and let simmer for at least an hour, until the chicken is very tender and you can pull off a piece easily with a fork. 

when the meat is falling off the bone, it's ready to serve.
Traditionally, my family gently removes the chicken, serves the soup with a small amount of rice (boiled into it when reheating after refrigerating).  We serve it with plenty of freshly squeezed lemon juice, nothing else. 
To do this, simply add the rice as soon as the soup comes to a boil, cook until tender and serve.  sometimes we use small pasta like stellini or some other form of pastina, but rarely. 

The 2nd course is usually boiled potatoes and spinach/zucchini or other fresh green veggies.

Some people add potatoes to this soup also, which is fine, but somehow I prefer this one without potato.  When it's beef, I like to add potatoes (not when using it as a stock though). 

Chicken stock/just the brodu:
To make "just" a stock or to serve just a soup without having to use a whole chicken, use the carcass of a chicken, plus a couple of necks and some giblets.  These are available for dirt cheap from your butcher.  When I make coq au vin and joint the chicken myself, I keep the carcass, neck and giblets for this very purpose.   Use the same amount of stock vegetables.
To serve as a soup: When the soup is done, remove the carcass, allow to cool slightly and remove any meat and add them back to the pot. 
To use as a stock: Remove all the carcass and bones, discard (or use bits of chicken for another dish or sammiches), strain soup and discard vegetables and bits.  The liquid can be frozen and used at a later date.  This also works well with roast chicken carcasses/bones with some meat on them.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I serve pasta or tortellini instead of rice. Brodu is my favourite winter dish!!