In Italy, there is this saying: old hen makes good stock.
If folk wisdom is inspiring, I’m starting with this adage to introduce chicken broth.
When the chicken gets old, after a life spent scratching and laying eggs, it is time for making a great pot.
Chicken stock pot.
Buy a chubby hen if you want to make a couple of liters of good stock.
The weight should be between 1.5 kg to 2 kg.
Ask the butcher to debone the hen without removing the skin. In the package, add a cow bone if you want. Not for me. I find the chicken is enough.
Now quickly go home. But before going home, don’t forget the odori, as people call them in Bologna: carrot, celery, onion; and any other flavors you like.
Chicken broth lends itself to embracing flavors like bay leaf and juniper berry.
Short digression from the pot where the chicken will end up.
On the relation between broth and spices, I have my idea that is a bit rigid.
What do cloves have to do with the delicate flavor of tortellini? After so much work and money spent, do you want to smell the aromas or the scent of tortellini?
Traditional meat and capon broths usually call out dishes that already have spice and character (for instance: nutmeg that goes, or can go, in both passatelli and tortellini).
Before adding flavorings and spices, think about what you’ll cook in that broth, even in the vegetable one.
The hen also scratches in the stockpot.
It is a broth that seems to look for aromas on the way to the pot.
Even in the pot, as in the first part of her life, the chicken pecks at what she finds.
So yes to bay leaves, juniper berries, peppercorns, or mustard.
And, in addition to the traditional odors, use the green part of the leek, which otherwise would end up in the trash, parsley, if you like, or potatoes.
The chicken broth pot is inviting, and I love it for that reason, too.
Before proceeding, decide what to make with the chicken meat.
If you are supposed to cook it, by force or love, in the broth, I say: it depends.
Boiled chicken is delicious with a boiled potato salad seasoned with salt, oil, and parsley. However, you could decide on a meat ragù, in white.
One of those old-fashioned backyard ragù.
Good times! I was a little girl, and I used to romp around the yard chased by chickens that scared me, except on my plate.
Pot preparation and stock cleaning.
Place vegetables, aromas, hen and cover everything with cold water.
Add coarse salt, as you would for salting pasta.
Bring to a boil, turn down and cover the pan with a lid leaving the broth a slit to mumble happily.
Let it talk for a couple of hours, turn off the stove, remove anything that isn’t liquid, and let the broth cool by placing the pan in a cool room or sheltered outdoor location. You can also let it rest in the refrigerator, but wait until the pot is at least lukewarm.
The chicken broth also needs to be clean. But you’ll only need to remove a thin coating of fat with a skimmer. Then strain the broth and taste it.
If it’s low in salt, remember to add salt when you use it.
Use chicken stock for cooking pasta in broth or as a base for risottos, soups, sauces, and roasts. Light and fragrant as it is, it goes with everything.
Along the Via Emilia, once upon a time, the housewife often made it. And on the other hand, once upon a time, it was all almost country, and there were perhaps more farmyard animals than Christians.
Buona cucina, Monica
Fowl and hen are not the same. So, also the broth you make will be different. To choose the best, I refer you to the initial Italian adage. In general, chicken is cheaper. Today chicken has become expensive since it is in high demand. However, considering it is not overpriced as a capon, I prefer chicken.
Cook with me:
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For a less spicy broth, omit or add just a grain of juniper berries.
Chicken broth recipe
1,5 liter of chicken stock
List of the Ingredients
1.5 kg hen
1 stalk of celery
1 white onion
the green part of a leek
2 bay leaves
1 bouillon bone (optional)
about 2.5 liters of water
coarse salt (as for salting pasta) to taste
Place ingredients in a large pot.
Cover with cold water and add the salt.
Put on the heat and bring to a boil, then move on a small stove, turn down to low, almost completely cover the pan with a lid, and cook, without ever stirring, for about two hours.
Turn off the heat and remove bones, vegetables, herbs, and chicken meat from the broth. Set the hen meat aside, and discard the rest.
Let the broth cool in the covered pot, and then set aside to cool and rest in a cool place or refrigerator for a few hours or, better yet, overnight.
After resting, remove the thin coating of fat with a skimmer and strain the broth through a strainer.
Store in the refrigerator for two days or in the freezer for up to a month.