Keeping Warm and Well
As someone that always gets sick around this time of year ... and throughout all of winter (eye roll) I made it a point to have a date with my lovely and wise italian mother and grandmother to learn the art of making their chicken soup / chicken stock before leaving for damp Amsterdam.
Something I initially learned in reading a bit about making stock was that making stock from veal bones is the best because lamb dies young so the bones have lots and lots of healthy nutrients. Totally sad I know... My family uses chicken, which is what this recipes is for but I'm sure you can interchange the bones.
1 small bunch of celery (you can leave leaves on), finely chopped
1 small bunch of carrots, finely chopped
3-4 Plum tomatoes (peeled* and finely chopped)
3 lbs chicken carcass / wings** (you will discard the carcass bones, but the wings will provide the actual meat for the soup once finished)
6 quarts water (water should rise approx 3 inches above the bones) - keep a kettle of hot water on the stove to replace water as it evaporates
Frozen homemade meatballs***
Skimmer / Spoon
Large pasta pot
Storage for extra soup to freeze for later!
The most important skill here in making broth is spending the whole day next to the pot skimming the foam! Basically all the bad stuff rises to the top and foams up so you need to remove that constantly. Always keep the flame under the pot low enough that the foam doesn't boil and go back down to the bottom.
Rinse the chicken parts in cold water
Add to large pasta pot, with water, almost to the top and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat, and keep at a low simmer. Begin skimming the top foam that is starting to form at the top layer of the pot.
After most of the foam is gone, add a small handful of salt, cover the pot and lower the flame for an hour. Throughout this hour SKIM SKIM SKIM!
After an hour, take the chicken out. Discard the bones/carcass but keep the wings. Add the frozen meatballs into the pot and raise the heat, they will start to pop up when they are ready.
Take the meat off the wings or other parts of the chicken you put in the pot for the meat. Discard the bones.
When the meatballs pop up, add the chicken, tomatoes, celery and carrots to the pot, and add more water so that the pot is full. Simmer, covered for 35 minutes.
KEEP SKIMMING and don't let it come to a boil.
*Peeled Tomatoes: Easiest way to do this is to put a pot of boiling water on the stove, and throw in the plum tomatoes - before you put them in the water cut an X on the top of them, so when the skins start to separate, it's easier to pull it all off - take them out of the boiling water as soon as they are peeling naturally.
**Chicken Parts: One advantage of being in Europe are the amazing butchers, markets etc. If you have a relationship with your butcher, you can definitely ask to have them bag up chicken parts for making stock if they don't already have it prepared. Our butcher sells 2 bags or chicken parts for stock specifically for one euro! I also buy a few wings or thighs so that you can use the meat from those parts later on for the soup.
***Homemade Meatballs Recipe: I actually did this while my broth was simmering / as I was skimming:
1 lb of chopped meat - all beef (needs to be cold!)
1/4 cup Locatelli Romano
S + P
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup of parsley
1/4 breadcrumbs (wet them - this makes them mix well and not separate)
Ball them up, and put on a sheet in your freezer for 30 minutes until you need them for the soup. If just making them with sauce, ball them up bigger and put them in the oven at 420 degrees for 10 min on one side, them flip them for 10 min on the other!