This recipe is adapted from a recipe I’ve made intuitively for years, seeing my mom and Grandma make soup, my mom taught me to take the skin off the chicken, (there is still plenty of fat for flavor) and over the years I’ve added my own twist, until I received the book Olives and Oranges by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox from Brendan. I love the book and Mindy Fox says this soup is from Naples! The leeks and head of garlic are Mindy’s— I never would have been so bold with the garlic! And you know garlic and me, one of my favorite vegetables.
This is a basic rich chicken soup and may be embellished in different ways.*
Basic Rich Chicken soup:
¼ cup avocado oil (I like avocado oil for browning because of its high flash point) or extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, chopped into 3 or 4 pieces
2 celery stalks, chopped into 3 or 4 pieces
1 medium onion quartered
1 leek, trimmed before the green, sliced (to clean leeks, slice in half lengthwise, rinse thoroughly)
1 head of garlic, sliced horizontally in half
1 tablespoon fine sea salt and 1 teaspoon reserved
½ cup dry white wine
1 3 ½ to 4-pound chicken, cut into 6 pieces, skin removed
½ bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
7-10 cups water add hot water to cover as it cooks.
Add after broth is made:
Add about 6 cups shredded greens, escarole, beet greens, Swiss chard, and/or mustard greens. Solo or mix and match.
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 small lemon cut into wedges
½ – 1 cup fresh Parmigiano-Regiano cheese, grated or shaved.
* Since this is a basic broth you may add a variety of additional ingredients after it is made:
1 cup sliced, (any or all) — carrots, parsnips, potatoes, turnips, zucchini, yellow squash, add before adding greens, because they take longer than the greens to cook. And cooked beans, rice, barley, pasta, go for it! This also stretches the broth if you have unexpected company.
Heat oil in large stockpot over high heat. Add basic soup carrots, celery, onion, leek, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add wine, and bring to a simmer; scrape any browned bits from bottom of pot.
Add chicken, parsley, and water to just cover. Cover and heat until liquid comes to a simmer, about 10-15 minutes. Remove cover, reduce heat to low and cook at a bare simmer, occasionally skimming foam, until broth is rich tasting, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Remove from heat, take out chicken pieces and reserve, and strain broth through a fine strainer. Discard all vegetables except ½ head garlic. When chicken is cool enough to handle, pull meat off bones; discard bones.
Remove fat from surface of broth, either by skimming with a spoon or placing broth in freezer for about 10-15 minutes, fat congeals at the top. Remove fat with large metal spoon. Put broth and chicken pieces in large clean saucepan and bring to a simmer. Press garlic pulp from reserved ½ head garlic through fine strainer into broth, scraping every bit into the broth; stir into broth to combine, discard skins. Add remaining teaspoon salt and greens and simmer until greens are wilted, about 5 minutes.
Serve immediately ground pepper, squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkle grated or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.