The first recipe below is how I always make chicken broth to use in other soups and dishes – I like using meat, skin, and bones rather than just bones, for the better and fuller flavor they provide.
4 large chicken leg and thigh quarters, about 2 pounds
2 large carrots, ends trimmed and peeled
2 ribs celery, one with leaves, rinsed and trimmed
1 large leek, ends trimmed, split, and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled, crushed
1 plum tomato, halved
2 large sprigs fresh thyme
2 large sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt
CHICKORY AND RICE
1 small head curly chickory, about 3/4 pound
1/3 cup long grain rice
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano for serving
- Rinse the chicken parts and place them in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add all the remaining broth ingredients and stir to mix.
- Place the pan on medium heat and use a slotted spoon to skim any froth that rises to the surface, gradually decreasing the heat as the broth comes near a boil. Adjust the heat so that the broth just simmers gently while the cover is ajar.
- After the broth has simmered for 45 minutes, remove the meat to a cutting board and separate the meat from the bones, cartilage, and skin. Place the meat in a bowl, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. If you are serving the soup soon after, keep the meat at a cool room temperature, if not, refrigerate it tightly covered after it has cooled completely.
- Return the bones, etc. to the pan and allow the broth to continue cooking for another hour.
- When the broth is cooked, strain it into a large bowl. Rinse the pan and strain the broth again through a fine wire mesh strainer or chinois. Skim most of the fat from the surface. For advance preparation, decant the broth to quart containers, cover, label, and refrigerate or freeze.
- For the escarole, separate the head into leaves, discarding the toughest outside ones. Soak the leaves n a bowl of cold water and lift them out to a colander. Discard water and any dirt in the bottom of the bowl and repeat the washing if necessary.
- Bring a large pan of water to a boil and add salt. Ad the escarole, using a large pot fork to push it down into the water. Let the water return to a boil and cook the escarole for a minute. Drain it in a colander, then spread it out on a pan or platter to cool. When it’s cool, wring it out in handfuls and coarsely chop it.
- For the rice, bring a cup of the chicken broth to a boil and salt it. Add the rice, stir, decrease heat and cover. Cook the rice for about 18 minutes, or until it is tender.
- To finish the soup, shred about half the chicken meat and add it to the soup. Add the escarole and bring the soup to a boil. Add the rice, taste for seasoning, and correct with salt and pepper. Let the soup stand for about an hour for the flavors to blend, then reheat to a boil and ladle into soup plates. Pass the grated cheese at the table.