Swede chicken broth

Swede chicken brothWe’ve called this deliciously savoury dish ‘Swede chicken broth’ because the humble swede is the key, not the poultry. A few dishes (mostly chicken and beef stews and similar) rely on this underrated root. If, like The Taster, you suffer from horrible flashbacks to mashed swede skule dinners, banish them now – Fear the Swede No More!

This is not precision cooking. Fresh grated ginger, growing parsley and garlic cloves are always good; but powdered ginger, dried parsley and garlic purée out of a tube are fine. The exact combination of veg is up to you. By all means add, say, celery or celeriac or more fresh herbs or whatever. Just one thing — do not omit the sherry. It’s quite important, and it’s not the same dish without it.

Serve without cream as a toothsome starter; or with cream, warm crusty bread and your best butter for a main course

Ingredients

♦ Roughly equal quantities of swede & carrot, half as much onion, other winter roots – Jerusalem artichokes, parsnip – but not a lot of potatoes, or it will start to be a different, more soupy sort of broth. At least one whole swede and two carrots per medium-sized potato

♦ Chicken stock. Good strong stuff and plenty of it – enough to submerge all the veg

♦ Flavourings – garlic, ginger, herbs (parsley and thyme are good), salt & pepper

♦ Medium (amontillado) sherry. Or Madeira or Marsala wine

♦ Butter and oil for frying

♦ OPTIONS: streaky bacon, mushrooms, cream to finish

Method

♦ Chop, slice and brown all the veg, garlic, ginger, herbs, mushrooms and bacon in the oil and butter, in a big flat frying pan, stockpot or saucepan. If you use a saucepan, stir the contents about to ensure they brown evenly

♦ While the veg is browning, heat or make up the chicken stock to boiling point

♦ Turn the heat under the veg down as low as possible. Pour the stock over, submerging the veg. Give it a few minutes, then season carefully, tasting spoonfuls between shakes of salt & pepper, until it tastes right (you need less salt if you add bacon)

♦ Simmer veeeeeeery gently – the surface should quiver, rather than bubble – for an hour. Add more stock or water if the veg breaks the surface. Towards the end, pour in a generous slug of sherry

♦ Ladle into bowls and *maybe* drizzle with cream – opinion is divided on whether it’s better with or without; we can see arguments on both sides. Bang the dinner gong and congratulate yourself on a job well done

See more seasonal recipes and ideas here

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