Sardinian comfort food, Chicken broth with fregola

The cold weather has arrived in Sydney, it is a calling to dig out those heart warming recipes. The humble chicken soup is one of those recipes,  a comfort dish that I love to prepare during the winter season. Every soup lover has  their own version of chicken soup, an honest dish made with simple ingredients, patience and a good appetite.

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The Sardinians have an extremely tasty and warming version that needs a whole chicken and some fregola. I have become accustomed to keeping a bag of fregola in my pantry for recipes just like this one.

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Fregola is so versatile and iconic to the Sardos. It is made from semolina dough that has been rolled into little balls and toasted in an oven. Fregola or better known in Sardinia as fregula, is typical of the south western part of Sardinia.

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Recipe (serves 6)

  • 1.6kg whole free range chicken
  • 1 brown onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, cut into 3 cm long pieces
  • 1 celery stalk heart, cut into 3 cm long pieces
  • 1 handful flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes
  • extra virgin oil, for drizzling
  • salt flakes
  • 200g fregola

Preparation

Pull your chicken out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking to allow it to come down to room temperature. Fill a large size pot with water, up to about 5 cm from the top.  Drop in your onion, carrot, celery and parsley.  Cross your chickens legs over and tie with kitchen string. Place the chicken in the water  together with the sun-dried tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer for about 2 hours until the drumsticks can be easily pulled away. Gently remove the chicken and leave it on a tray to cool down. Now it’s time to strain your broth, you will end up with a rich golden liquid. Pour your broth back in the pot and as soon as it starts boiling, drop your fregola, stirring constantly. Allow it to cook for about 10 minutes, until al dente. Stir in salt to taste, now quickly ladle that delicious broth into soup bowls and generously drizzle with olive oil. Finally place some of your favourite chicken pieces on top, enjoy!

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