After the summer months of grilled meats, simple starters and other dishes that allow us to spend just a little time in the kitchen, as soon as the evening weather turned a little cool, the Artviva staff were very keen to don their aprons and get cooking some delicious slow-cooking, warm-weather meals. We’ve been reading our personally signed copies of Tessa Kiros cookbooks* as if they were novels, so great are they written.
But unlike a standard novel, we’ve actually been able to cook our way through some of the pages at the same time. So far, collectively the staff have made spaghetti with meatballs (as famous as this dish may be in the United States, it is actually quite a strange concept to a Tuscan to have pasta and what is considered as a main meal together), chicken cooked with cheese, tomato sauce, pot-roasted veal with sage, steak pie, savoury tarts, meringue with strawberries, gingerbread biscuits, and a range of delicious vegetable sides taken from the colourful pages of Tessa’s books.
Today at lunchtime, the Artviva office was filled with the aromas of chicken soup made from the ‘Apples for Jam’ recipe. Below is the recipe so that you too can keep warm and happy with this delicious dish!
We’re serving it with just-baked bread from the nearby bakery on Via della Spada that is responsible for at least 8 extra kilo of staff due to the deliciousness of every item on their rotating menu of to-die-for breads and pastries.
1 chicken (about 1.2kg/1 lb 12 oz)
1 leafy celery stalk, roughly chopped
2 small carrots, peeled and halved
1 small leek, trimmed and halved
about 12 black peppercorns
50 g /1 ¾ oz) butter
30 g (1 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tablespoons marsala or port
freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese to serve
Put the chicken in a large pot with the celery, carrot, leek, and peppercorns. Add about 3 litres of water and some salt and bring to the boil. (If the water doesn’t all fit in your pot, put in as much as you can and add the rest when it has reduced.) Skim the surface with a slotted spoon, lower the heat and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Lift the chkecn out and onto a plate to cook and strain the broth into a clean pan.
Pick all the chicken meat from the bones. Chop about 150 g (5 ½ oz) of the chicken meat into longish strips and put the rest of it into a blender. Chop until it is almost a purée and keep on one side for now.
Melt the butter in a smallish pan, then add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon for a few minutes until it begins to turn golden. Add a ladelful of hot broth and mis in well and, when the flour has absorbed this, whisk in another ladelful of broth. Simmer for about 10 minutes, whisking every now and then so that it is very smooth. Add the Marsla and then pour it all back into the large broth pan together with all the chicken meat. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Whip the egg in a small bowl. Add a ladleful of the hot broth to the egg, whisking to avoid scrambling it, and then mix this back into the broth. Return the pan to the lowest possible heat and stir with a wooden spoon for a minute or so to just cook the egg through.
Serve immediately, scattering a heaped tablespoon of parmesan or pecorino over each bowl.
Serves 8 or more.
* You can get your very own signed copy of Tessa Kiros books in our office!