A great brodo is the heart and soul of many Italian soups - shop-bought stock just won't cut it unless you're certain it's of the highest quality. Unlike many stock recipes, this one uses the whole bird, and if its giblets are still intact, so much the better. Some brodo di pollo recipes call for the addition of marrow bones, but we've opted for pure chicken in this version (pictured here in chicory soup).
- 1 free-range or organic chicken (about 1.2kg)
- 2 each onions, carrots and celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, quartered
- 1 leek, coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic head, halved horizontally
- 6 flat-leaf parsley stalks
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- ¼ tsp black peppercorns
- 1Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water and combine in a stockpot with remaining ingredients. Add 3½ litres cold water, bring to the simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and skim occasionally until stock is well-flavoured and chicken is falling apart (2½-3 hours, see note).
- 2Remove chicken (shred flesh and reserve for soup or another use). Strain stock through a fine sieve into a container and refrigerate until fat rises to surface (2-3 hours), then skim fat from surface (discard). Chicken stock will keep refrigerated for 3 days, or frozen for 3 months.
Note This recipe makes about 1.75 litres. If you want to use the cooked chicken in a soup, add the chicken to the stockpot when the water and vegetables are already simmering, and then remove it after the stock has been cooking for about 2 hours. The stock will be lighter in flavour, but the chicken will not be overcooked and will still retain some flavour.