“Brodu” is so much more than a simple chicken stock in Malta. It’s a hearty meal, with 2 courses, a delicious broth soup, and then the chicken itself, served with steamed/boiled vegetables, potatoes and crusty bread.
some Celery (leaves and small stalks only if possible, in Maltese it's "karfus" and you get it for free from all the veggie men)
Qarabali (Zucchini/courgettes) - 2 small-medium ones.
Mixed herbs (I used Herbes de Provence but you can use Italian mix, or just thyme if you like)
Salt, pepper, olive oil.
3 or 4 garlic cloves
I whole chicken, with neck/giblets included
Wash and dry the chicken, trimming off all the visible fat and if you choose, remove the skin.
Prepare a pot big enough to fit the chicken comfortably. Put the heat on low, add olive oil, and chuck in the chopped carrots, onions, celery zucchini and garlic.
Cover and "sweat" for a few minutes until the onions are slightly translucent.
Add the whole chicken, and pour enough water to just cover it. No more! You can always add a bit more later.
Add some herbs, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. A couple of bay-leaves never hurt either! :)
Bring to the boil, then cover and let simmer for at least an hour, until the chicken is very tender and you can pull off a piece easily with a fork.
To serve, remove the chicken carefully and bring the soup back to a rolling boil.
Add a handful of rice as soon as the soup comes to a boil, cook until tender and serve with plenty of lemon juice.
The 2nd course is usually boiled potatoes and spinach/zucchini or other fresh green veggies, all drizzled with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
Some people add potatoes to this soup also, which is fine, but somehow I prefer this one without potato. When it's beef, I like to add potatoes (not when using it as a stock though).
Chicken stock/just the brodu:
To make "just" a stock or to serve just a soup without having to use a whole chicken, use the carcass of a chicken, plus a couple of necks and some giblets. These are available for dirt cheap from your butcher. When I make coq au vin and joint the chicken myself, I keep the carcass, neck and giblets for this very purpose. Use the same amount of stock vegetables.
To serve as a soup: When the soup is done, remove the carcass, allow to cool slightly and remove any meat and add them back to the pot.
To use as a stock: Remove all the carcass and bones, discard (or use bits of chicken for another dish or sandwiches), strain soup and discard vegetables and bits. The liquid can be frozen and used at a later date. This also works well with roast chicken carcasses/bones with some meat on them.
Happy cooking! :)