Baby it’s cold outside. And I am harbouring yet another winter bug… So the only thing left today was for me to snuggle up under a blanket in front of the fire in the sweet knowledge that next door to me is a pot of liquid gold gently simmering away. Big batch of rosol, cooked slowly and with a minimal effort, is exactly what my body has been craving. I call it home made penicillin as whenever I had been ill, my Mum would serve it to me and somehow it would make me feel better. Whether it was my mother’s love and tender care, or the nutritional qualities of this soup, I am not sure. Probably both. So since I no longer have my Mum around, I reach for rosol instead.
The trick to rosol is to cook it gently and very slowly, with a minimal disturbance, as this ensures the end result is the clearest of broths you have ever seen. The broth is normally cooked on the stove in a generous, deep pan. However, with the busy family schedules or when illness strikes like today, I often cook it in my slow cooker instead. The low setting is perfect as the soup simmers away nice and gently. It’s such a comfort after a long day when we arrive home and the delicious smell of chicken soup wafts towards the doorstep. With just a quick shuffling of egg pasta, shredded chicken meat and vegetables from the broth are added to bowl before the golden liquid is poured over the lot. Freshly chopped parsley goes over the top. Perfectly restorative.
The broth requires a whole chicken although portions will do just fine too. Try to choose the best chicken you can afford here as the quality of the bird will be mirrored in the soup. And use the freshest of vegetables whenever possible. Here is another little trick that I have learnt from my Mum – blister your onion over a flame before adding it to the broth. Always. The onion will bubble and spit as it scorches in the flames (you can see its juices on my stove in the photo). It will add a further depth of flavour once the caramelised sugars are released during the broth’s cooking process. The deeply savoury base is rounded of with the sweetness from carrots and parsnip with earthy tones coming from leek and celeriac. If you can’t get celeriac, replace it with two stalks of celery instead. The whole lot is tucked in around the chicken, topped with water and herbs and cooked for 8 hours, low and slow. The chicken stays lovely and tender and the broth takes on a delicious golden colour with a flavour that can hardly be rivalled. Here is the recipe.
- 1 medium chicken
- 3 carrots, peeled, topped and tailed
- 1 parsnip, peeled, topped and tailed
- a large chunk of celeriac root or 2 stalks of celery as an alternative
- 1 medium onion, peeled and scorched as per instructions above
- 1 medium leek, cleaned and washed
- 1 tbsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp of peppercorns
- 2 fresh bay leaves (or dried)
- a small bunch of parsley with a handful reserved for garnish
- 2.5 litre of water
Remove the chicken from its packaging. Do not wash the bird as it is not necessary – if anything, splatters of water and raw poultry juice created by washing the bird allow harmful bacteria to spread further. Simply wipe the bird with a paper towel and place it in the bottom of your slow cooker. Wash your hands well afterwards.
Add the vegetables and tuck them around the chicken. Sprinkle in salt and peppercorns before adding the water. Ensure the chicken is covered by the liquid and if necessary, add more water. Cover it with the lid, set on low and leave to cook for 8 hours. After that time the chicken will be thoroughly cooked and the broth reduced a little. If you have a chance, you can skim the surface halfway through the cooking time but that is optional and you can do it right at the end. Check and adjust the seasoning if required.
Remove the chicken from the broth and set aside. Discard the parsley and bay leaves. To serve, place some cooked egg noodles into bowls. Remove the carrots and parsnip and cut into batons before dividing between the bowls. Shred some of the chicken over the noodles before pouring the broth over the lot. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and serve pipping hot. Enjoy x
Any remaining broth can be frozen and used as a base for soups, stews and sauces.