Brodo di Gallina | Hen Stock

How do you make chicken stock?

With a hen and some beef…

Chicken stock can be used in so many dishes from soups to sauces to a delicious broth enjoyed on its own.

My chicken stock recipe is actually a hen stock with beef to add extra depth to the flavour.  This is the way I was taught to make it by my mum, who in turn was taught by her mum, my Nonna Wanda.

Chicken Stock | Brodo di Gallina | Hen Stock | Hen Broth | Chicken Broth | Tortellini in Brodo

My mum always makes this on Christmas Eve and we enjoy ‘Cappelletti in Brodo’ – Cappelletti* in broth/stock – as part of our evening meal.  It also then makes a delicious starter to our Christmas lunch meal of Roast Capon with roast potatoes.  I have carried on this tradition in our family home here in the UK.

Brodo di Gallina is also delicious with Capelli d’Angelo (Angel’s Hair – very fine pasta) or Pastina (very small pasta shapes).  ‘Pastina in Brodo’ takes me back to my childhood – many Italian children are still fed this as an early ‘weaning’ food!

There is no reason why you should only make this for special occasions.  It is delicious and heart-warming and so versatile, you could do with having some in your fridge most days!  Use ‘Brodo di Gallina’ anywhere where you would use chicken stock.  In risotto, soups, sauces (use it for your chicken gravy – it will be the best chicken gravy you’ve ever made!) or drink it from a mug on a cold winter’s day to warm you up!


Essential equipment – a large stockpot


(makes enough stock to serve Tortellini in Brodo to approximately 8 people, or 4 people over 2 meals)

  • 1 Hen, skinned (see separate post on skinning a hen), whole
  • 500g (approx.) of stewing beef, in one single piece
  • 1-2 onions, depending on size, peeled but left whole
  • A selection of root vegetables (e.g. 2-3 carrots – scraped clean and topped & tailed, 1 swede – peeled and cut into large chunks, 1-2 parsnips – peeled and top & tailed)
  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Water


Place the skinned hen and the beef into a large stockpot and add enough water to ensure both are covered, but just (adding too much water will dilute the flavour).  Add a good handful of coarse sea salt and bring to the boil over a high heat.

Once the water starts boiling, a froth/foam will start forming on the surface of the water.  Remove this with a fine skimmer (you can also simply use a spoon if you don’t have a skimmer).  Once you are satisfied you’ve removed as much of the froth as you can, add the onion(s) and root vegetables. Chicken Stock | Brodo di Gallina | Hen Stock | Hen Broth | Chicken Broth

Turn the heat down so the water simmers gently, cover and leave to cook for approximately 2 hours (check after about an hour and a half – some of the vegetables may begin to fall apart, so remove those that are too soft before they all fall to pieces into the stock).  Check for taste as you near the 2 hours.  You’ll know when it is ready as the taste will be divine and the hen will be close to falling apart.  At this point, add more salt if needed. If you find that you used too much water and the stock is a little bland, simply cook it a bit longer with the lid off, to reduce it down a little and concentrate the flavour (careful on salt quantities if you do this though as you may end up with an over-salted stock).

Tip: If you find you’ve over-salted it earlier on in the process, adding a raw, peeled potato to the cooking process will help absorb some of the salt out.

Once the stock is ready, carefully lift out the hen and the beef as well as all the vegetables.  Now pour the stock through a sieve into a clean stockpot to remove any vegetable debris, ready to use as you wish.   If you prefer your stock to be leaner, place it in the fridge overnight, then remove the layer of solidified fat from the top.

If you serve the stock as ‘tortellini in brodo’ or with other pasta, add a little sprinkling of freshly-grated parmesan cheese to each individual portion once served, for extra-deliciousness!

Tip: Don’t waste the beef and hen meat.  Tear these up into little strips by hand once they’re cooled down enough to handle (but not cold) and season with a little olive oil and salt.  They are both delicious to eat either warm (not too hot) or cold straight from the fridge and make an excellent light meal accompanied by the the vegetables, which are also delicious to eat with a drizzle of olive oil.  They taste really sweet when cooked in this way.

Clockwise, starting top left: Strips of hen meat with olive oil & salt, Tortellini in Brodo, Strips of beef with olive oil & salt, Hen Broth on its own

Clockwise, starting top left: strips of hen meat with olive oil & salt, tortellini in brodo with a sprinkling of freshly-grated parmesan, strips of beef with olive oil & salt, hen broth on its own

*Cappelletti are similar to Tortellini – they are filled pasta parcels of sorts, but Cappelletti tend to be smaller than Tortellini, so lend themselves better to being served ‘in brodo’.  Don’t worry if you can’t get hold of them, Tortellini will also work (I used Tortellini in the photos shown in this recipe post). 

Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

Pork Beef and Sage Burgers | Homemade Burgers

Burgers, proper home-made Burgers! Yum!

Today was an exciting day in our household, because this item arrived:

Pork Beef Sage Burgers | Home-made Burgers

Aside from the exciting baking possibilities that beckon, this heralds a new start in our kitchen…the start of mincing meat ourselves and making burgers and sausages! Yay! (I know, I’m a kitchen geek! lol)

So, I thought, what could we inaugurate our machine with?  Burgers, that’s what!

If you don’t have your own mincing machine, don’t worry, you can still make these burgers.  Just buy the meat ready minced (ground, for those in the USA) and make sure you chop the other ingredients REALLY finely and mix them in well.

IngredientsPork Beef Sage Burgers | Homemade BurgersPork Beef Sage Burgers | Home-made Burgers

250g beef sirloin

900g pork shoulder

12 large fresh sage leaves

1 large onion

3 garlic cloves

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

sea salt, to taste


PPork Beef Sage Burgers | Homemade BurgersPork Beef Sage Burgers | Home-made Burgerseel the garlic, peel and cut the onion into large rough chunks, chop the pork and beef into rough chunks.

If you are using a meat grinder, put all the ingredients (except salt & pepper) through the grinder, mixing some of them up so they grind up together.  If you are using ready minced meat, chop all the other ingredients very finelly (ideally using a food processor or electric chopper) and mix them into the meat.

Add salt & pepper to taste.

Mix well by hand.

Shape into 8 burgers.

Grill the burgers until cooked throughout and serve with your favourite side dishes.  Tonight, we had our burgers with pan-fried courgettes and aubergines and potato wedges. Delicious!

Pork Beef Sage Burgers | Homemade BurgersPork Beef Sage Burgers | Home-made Burgers

Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding | Boneless Rib Roast

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puddings

(using Boneless Rib Roast)

We currently have a lovely house guest (one of my school friends from Luxembourg has sent us her 12-year-old daughter for 2 weeks as she is starting in an English school in September and needs some English practice), so I took the opportunity to cook a quintessential British (and Yorkshire!) meal.

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puddings 🙂

I like my roast beef really juicy and I quite like the fatty bits, so I like roasting Boneless Rib Roast.  I was also feeding a meat-loving family of 5, so we munched our way through best part of a 1.1kg roast.

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Puddings

Cooking times – beef:
If you like the roast as rare as we like it, cook it for 15 mins per 500g plus 15 mins extra at 200°C in a fan-assisted oven, so for a 1.1kg roast, cook it for 48 mins in a pre-heated oven.  Remember to allow 10-15 mins standing time at room temperature at the end.

If you prefer your beef slightly more cooked, increase the cooking times accordingly.

Method – beef:
  • Pre-heat the Oven to 200°C (fan-assisted)
  • Season the beef generously with sea salt and brown on all sides in a hot pan with a little olive oil
  • Place into an oven dish and pour over any juices from the browning process, then cover with tin foil
  • Roast according to cooking times shown above.
  • Take out of the oven at the end of cooking, remove the juices for gravy if desired, and leave covered, at ambient temperature, for 10-15 mins to ‘rest’ before slicing very thinly.
Method – Yorkshire Puddings:

For the Yorkshire Pudding recipe, which is the one my hubby Simon Roberts has made his own after his mum passed it down to him, click HERE.

Mmmmmmm – Gloriously Good!

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