MAKES ABOUT 2 QUARTS
Tomie dePaola, the noted children's illustrator and author, is a fine cook and crazy about his Italian heritage. He appears often on segments of Ciao Italia with classic recipes from southern Italy. Here is his chicken soup made from scratch. Kept on hand in the freezer, it can serve you well in the kitchen in a multitude of ways, from using it as a savory broth, or with tiny meatballs or vegetables, and as a basis for making sauce.
2 - 5 whole cloves
1 onion, unpeeled
2 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 tarragon sprig
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
10 - 12 whole black peppercorns
2 pounds assorted chicken parts for soup, including wings and backs
2 celery ribs with leaves, rinsed and cut into chunks
3 carrots, scrubbed and cut into large chunks
1 teaspoon salt
Use the cloves to stud the onion. Put the onion in a soup pot. Tie the parsley, tarragon, and thyme together with kitchen string and add it to the pot. Wrap the bay leaf and peppercorns in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string to make a bouquet garni. Add it to the pot.
Rinse the chicken pieces and add them to the pot along with the celery and carrots.
Cover the ingredients with cold water and add the salt. Bring to a rolling boil and skim the foam and scum from the surface as it rises. Let the ingredients boil for several minutes, then lower the heat and simmer for several hours. Check to skim more foam as it rises and add more water, if necessary, to keep the ingredients submerged.
Line a colander with damp cheesecloth. Strain the stock, pressing down on the solids. Discard the solids.
Chill the stock, covered, in the refrigerator. The fat will rise to the top and solidify. It will be easy to remove by scraping the top with a spoon.
Serve the stock as a clear soup, or with added vegetables or noodles, or freeze it for future use.
This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA PRONTO by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2005.
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