When we think of broth, we think warm evenings by the fire all snuggled up. But wait, made right it can make for a perfect light-refreshing broth to enjoy on your balcony watching the world go by.

In our flat, soup is generally dinner after a long, lazy lunch. Carlos and I love the stuff, the slurping, the splashing and the little droplets trailed across the dining table. Whatever the time of year, herb flavoured broths make for the perfect basis that always make their way through the sieve to show their presence with flecks of prominent bottle green in every mouthful.

Today, my broth is simply handmade and healthy, and the centrepiece of my dinner table scenting the home and creating rumbling tummies.

Earlier in the week I bought my ingredients from the market, but because my kitchen is the resemblance of an oven, my vegetables were just over ripening so I had to kick start my broth. I gave my broth a summery tone with thyme and a juicy loin of fatty pancetta. It was light, sustaining and definitely not heavy on the pockets. The oyster mushrooms ended up giving a subtlety to the broth creating something lighter to serve and gentle on the senses.

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Serves 2
Ingredients:

1 large chicken breast, cut into strips
1 large, firm carrot, cut into chunks
2 celery sticks, cut into chunks
1 (75-100 grams) juicy slice of panchetta
2-3 sprigs thyme
4 small or 2 large oyster mushrooms, torn into strips
Generous splash of sherry
Freshly ground sea salt (Maldon sea salt) and black pepper for seasoning.
Water
Extra virgin olive oil

Method:

Place the chicken, carrot, celery and pancetta in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer slowly for about 45 minutes to an hour, skimming any white residue off the top.

Add the thyme sprigs, oyster mushrooms and sherry and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

Season the broth if necessary with salt and pepper. Carefully strain the broth into a large, separate bowl. Gently ladle the broth into serving bowls. Add the torn chicken slivers and oyster mushrooms to each bowl and add little droplets of extra virgin olive oil and slurp away.

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