Broth – Recipe for Traditional Polish Chicken Soup
The real broth. Many people remember its taste very well, especially of the one cooked by a grandmother… because only grandmothers have enough time to prepare the real broth ;) I sometimes, mainly during autumn and winter, cook on lazy Saturdays this queen of Polish soups.
After analyzing several dozen recipes found on the Internet and reading a couple hundred comments followed by quite a few failed attempts at cooking the real broth, I finally developed a recipe which I now have been following successfully for a long time. Good home-made broth, without such “boosters” as bouillon cubes, poses quite a challenge.
So, let’s take up the gauntlet!
Here are the ingredients for five litres of broth.
- water – I always use filtered water
- a bit of beef – rump (the amount depends on how much of its taste you want to feel in your broth, but from 200 to 300 grams should be OK)
- 1 kilogram of chicken carcasses (+optionally few chicken wings)
- 1 turkey neck
- soup vegetables
- 1 big carrot (if you add more, your broth will be sweeter in taste)
- 1 parsley root
- a piece of celeriac
- 1 small leek
- a small piece of Savoy cabbage
- 1 unpeeled onion (for nicer colour)
- 2 or 3 bay leaves
- 5 whole allspice berries
- 5 black pepper grains
- sometimes, I also add some dried mushrooms (but it’s not necessary)
- parsley leaves
Firstly, you must remember one crucial thing: good home-made broth needs very long cooking. If you want your soup to taste as good as your grandma’s, you can’t take any shortcuts. The secret of this queen of all soups lies in slow cooking. You shouldn’t allow the broth to boil rapidly – it should only simmer :-). Thanks to this cooking technique your broth will be clear.
I start with pouring COLD water into the pot and putting in all of the prepared meat. Afterwards, I begin the cooking.
When the water starts to boil, by using a little sifter, I skim off the scum that accumulates on the surface of the broth. At this point, I also reduce the heat to make the broth only simmer slightly.
After skimming off the scum, I add all vegetables which I washed and chopped beforehand. Remember not to peel the onion completely. Just get rid of its outer layer which is usually quite dirty.
Right after the veggies I throw in all of the seasonings and cover slightly the pot. I also control the temperature in order to keep the broth simmering.
Next, I cook the broth very long, really very looooong… Once in a while, I take a look just to check if the broth is not boiling too much. The recipe for impatient cooks says that you should cook the broth for two hours, but I always keep it simmering for at least three.
When the cooking is over, I clean the broth by straining it using a metal sieve. Then, I choose the ingredients which I will add back to the soup (e.g. the carrot).
Now it’s time for tasting. If the broth is too watery, I continue to cook it without any pot lid. Thanks to this the excess of water will evaporate. This type of broth, if put into a fridge, turns into jelly :). If the broth is too heavy, you can thin it.
I serve my broth with egg pasta and a piece of cooked carrot which I later sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.
Want some extra information?
- The broth has more vegetable taste if you add more chopped vegetables and it can have more meat taste if you add more meat.
- The meat cooked in the broth is not the most tasty thing ever but you can use it to prepare other dishes.
- Such broth is a great base for other soups.
- I cook a big portion of the broth and later divide it into smaller ones which I can store in a freezer for a long time.
- If you want to get rid of the fat that has accumulated on the broth surface, you should do it when the soup cools down because then the fat congeals and you can take it out easily with a spoon.
Enjoy your meal! :-)