Brodo di Pollo

Chicken Broth

Preparation info

  • Makes about

    2 litres

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen

Alastair Little's Italian Kitchen

By Alastair Little

Published 1996

  • About

A two-stage recipe. Firstly it’s a simple, relatively quick chicken stock then, if you wish, you can poach a chicken in it to give both a main course and a good chicken soup. The chicken used in the stock is part bouillon and part browned chicken wings.


  • 1.5 kg chicken wings
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 head celery, chopped and then washed
  • 2 bay leaves, 1 sprig thyme, 1 sprig rosemary, a few parsley stalks, tied into a bouquet garni
  • 6 chicken bouillon cubes (Knorr for preference)
  • 4 litres water
  • ½ bottle white wine


    First trim the chicken wings. Open one out and you will see three sections: the wing tip, the middle joint and what appears to be a miniature drumstick. Separate at each joint. Scissors are very good for this but be careful, the pressure you exert on cutting the bones will do an equally effective job on your finger tips.

    Put the chopped wings, vegetables and bouquet garni in a stock pot. Add the bouillon cubes and water and bring to the boil. Turn down as soon as it is boiling and add the wine. Stir and skim, and continue to cook at the barest simmer for 3 hours, skimming often.

    The wings will give out a surprising amount of fat. Sieve the stock, discarding all the solids, and return to the cleaned-out pan, then bring to a rapid boil. As the stock comes to the boil it will start to form a splendid scum. You must get this off with a ladle, because if it boils in, the stock will be cloudy and taste fatty. After the first skim, add 500 ml cold water, bring back to the boil and skim again. This addition of cold water precipitates more fat and more particles to the top of the stock. Continue to boil the stock over a maximum flame, skimming regularly until it is reduced by half. Allow to cool and refrigerate or freeze.

    For Poached Chicken and Chicken Soup

    Use 1 large free-range chicken approximately 2 kg in weight. Follow the recipe for chicken stock up to ‘continue to cook at the barest simmer for 3 hours, skimming often’. After you have done this, plunge the bird into the unsieved stock and turn the heat up to medium. As soon as it nears the boil, turn to low again, skim and simmer gently for 45 minutes. You may need to add more water to cover the chicken, and also to use a drop lid to hold the rather buoyant bird under the liquid’s surface. After 45 minutes (an hour in all actually, since after you put the bird in, it took about 15 minutes to return to the boil), skim one more time, take off the heat and allow the chicken to cool in its stock. By the time the stock is cold the chicken will be perfectly cooked, moist and tender.

    Remove the chicken from the stock with a spider, wrap and refrigerate. Sieve the stock as in the previous recipe, skim, degrease and reduce in the same manner. You must do this very thoroughly if you want a good clear soup.

    The resulting soup can be reheated with freshly prepared diced leek, carrot, onion and celery boiled in it, and a final addition of the gently heated, sliced poached chicken breast. Another use is as a clear chicken soup with noodles: any of Italy’s amazing range of soup pasta will do.

    The best use for the poached chicken apart from in its own broth is Insalata di Cappone.