Rich Chicken Bone Broth with Quinoa & Spring Veg
Long ago I gave up the habit of buying bits of chicken. If you still do it, know that it’s a ridiculous habit you must get out of now! Buy one whole, free range, preferably Organic bird, and bone it, or get your butcher to. That way you get 2 plump breasts (cue the laugh) that you can use in pretty much any chicken dish, 2 legs for a mini roast, 2 wings for a spicy Asian snack and a wonderful carcass to melt into an amazing, collagen rich broth. What’s not to like? Plus it’s a whole lot cheaper and involves minimal horrible factory intervention.
So given that you have done this – what to do with the broth? Well, here’s a simple dish for a Monday night that you can pimp to your hearts delight. Obviously Asian flavours (ginger, sesame, lemon grass, chili and ginger) will give you a nice Tom Yam or Pho, but these flavours are decidedly European, wholesome and hearty to boot.
To make the broth, soak your chicken carcass in cold water with a large splash of vinegar for about 30 minutes; this will help to release the all-important collagen, main minerals and amino acids. Then add carrot, onion, celery, garlic, bay and any other herbs, along with a knob of sliced ginger, fresh turmeric if you can get it and a teaspoon of black pepper corns. Bring to the heat and simmer for a few hours, 2 at least. Overnight in a slow cooker is perfect, but you come down in the morning to the smell and frankly that’s just not that great. Daytime is best!
You will end up with about a litre of strong stock, once you’ve divested it of the bones and veg debris. Strain it and strain it well. You can dilute it when you come to use it. Keep it in the fridge and use in other dishes, or get going on this and it will see you and the family through most of the week.
NB if you don’t like the look of the fat layer on the cold stock, you can remove it with a kichen towel placed over the surface area and gently lifted out. My Irish granny taught me that.
For this recipe I had 1 and ½ chicken legs left, so used them for extra protein.
They aren’t necessary though.
For the soup, you will need:
1-2 litres of chicken stock
2 remaining chicken (leg) pieces if using
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped or pressed
2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 tbsps dry quinoa
and then, 3 spring onions, sliced
2 kale stalks ripped, or some sliced white cabbage
a few green beans, chopped
1/3 of a head of cauliflower, separately into very small florets
1 – 2 large handfuls of fresh herbs – parsley or coriander best
Prep all the veg first, leaving the 2ndhalf to one side. Then heat some oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, the carrot, celery and finally the garlic. Simmer at a low heat, turning often, to release the flavours. Add the chicken pieces if you’re using some and let them gently brown. Start to warm the stock in a separate pan. Add the quinoa to the chicken pan and mix, then ladle in your warmed broth. When the quinoa is softened and the soup has bubbled for a while, remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Test and season the broth and then, 10 minutes before you want to eat, add the crunchy veggies to the pan. They don’t need much cooking time, so strip the chicken off the reserved pieces quickly and add them back in to.
Serve in warm bowls with a handful of fresh herbs and a warm glow ;-)