Canja de Galinha ❦ Portuguese Chicken Soup
Most recipes I make can transport me to my childhood. In my mother's kitchen, watching her cook...always effortlessly. Somehow this one can has a special place in my heart. It is a soup I make weekly and especially for my youngest daughter, Stela Rose. Like me, she adores it. The store bought soups have nothing on this. It is a prime example of howa few quality ingredients produce so much flavour.
All you need is a chicken, preferably organic and corn fed. The cheap, mass produced variety will not get you the intensity of flavour you're after. Some people like this soup with tiny varieties of pasta, like stars or orzo, but I prefer it with rice, just like my Mom used to make. A bay leaf, an onion studded with two cloves, a bit of fresh squeezed lemon juice to serve and a few fresh mint leaves. That's it! I also like to add a hard boiled egg yolk to serve. I cook the broth with the giblets. We like them here at our house, but feel free to discard them afterwards if you don't. They lend a beautiful depth to the broth. You will find that this soup is all about the broth. You will not see it served with loads of chicken and rice. They are simply embellishments. My Mom always told me as a child that her chicken soup was the answer to many of life's ailments. Eating it now, and watching my daughter eat it, really makes me smile at her advice. Low calorie and high in nutrients, especially if you add the egg yolk, it is easy to see why this is Portugal's cure all soup. Serve with good chunk of crusty bread.
Isn't that what comfort food is all about?
My Mother's Chicken Rice Soup❦ Canja de Galinha com Arroz da Minha Mãe
1 Chicken, whole with giblets. Preferably corn fed, free range or organic
1 Onion, medium whole
2 Cloves, whole (stud them into onion)
1 Bay leaf
1 Garlic clove, whole
3 L. Water
140 g. Long grain rice
1 Juice of half a lemon
1 Bunch fresh mint to serve
In a large stock pot on medium heat, add all ingredients except rice, mint and lemon. Simmer gently covered for 11/2 hours. Skim broth regularly to clear scum that may rise to surface.
Place a sieve over a clean stock pot. Tip broth and chicken into sieve. This will clarify the broth and separate chicken and solids, reserve.
Place pot with broth back on the hob. Add rice and simmer gently on medium heat, until rice is cooked, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, when chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin, bones and shred into bite size pieces. Cut giblets into chunks if using. You will only use half the meat. Save rest in freezer for future uses in other recipes.
Add shredded chicken to broth. Add lemon juice and simmer 2 minutes more. Taste and adjust salt.
Just before serving, add a few fresh mint leaves, freshly cracked black pepper and cooked egg yolk.