Chicken Soup with Shredded Chicken, Curly Chickory, and Rice

Chicken soup
Chicken soup

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. 

CHICKEN BROTH

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Return the bones, etc. to the pan and allow the broth to continue cooking for another hour.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.