The magic of an old hen…

Gallina vecchia fa buon brodo’ – an old hen makes good broth as the Italian saying goes, for it brings age and experience in the magic of food being medicine and comfort. (A good quality, free range chicken who’s led a pleasant, kind life in the outdoors and lived a bit longer is good too.) It’s been a while since I’ve roasted a whole chicken and made broth, something Granny Maddalena did as one of her remedies as the village witch. (Her chicken soup was said to cure her son, Elia from typhoid when a doctor couldn’t.)

Of course, Italians don’t follow written recipes but I was curious to find one for roast fowl with dripping in an Australian 1934 cookery book. My Italian-Australian version is somewhat different but simple with leaves of rosemary from the garden, olive oil, mountain pepper berries, lemon myrtle, saltbush and desert raisins sprinkled over top. What is left after the roast meat is eaten is all put in a pot with water and soffritto, that trio of carrots, onion and celery, simmered for hours then strained.

Whether as a clear soup or stock for risotto it is amazingly restorative – along with some cheery flowers on the kitchen table. For all of you, especially those who are finding times a challenge at present, wishing you a lovely day, the happiness of yellow flowers and good chicken soup. Zoe 💛 xx

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