CHICKEN AND DANDELION SOUP
We take the chicken out of the pot before the broth is finished so the chicken doesn't overcook, then use the bones to finish the broth. This is an efficient and delightful dish, very light but satisfying. Ask your butcher to grind the beef twice, so it's very fine.
Italian Family Dining by Edward & Eugenia Giobbi
• 1 chicken (4 to 4 1/2 pounds)
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3/4 pound lean double-ground beef
• 1 egg
• 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
• 1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, plus 3 tablespoons for garnish
• 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
• 2 large carrots, cut into 3 lengths each
• 2 celery ribs, cut into 4 lengths each
• 1 medium parsnip, scraped
• 2 bay leaves
• 5 cups wild dandelions, washed and coarsely chopped
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper
In a large bowl, make the stuffing by combining the beef, egg, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, the lemon zest, 1/3 cup cheese, onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Set 1 cup of the stuffing aside in the refrigerator. Force the remaining stuffing inside the cavity of the chicken.
Truss the chicken and place it in a large soup pot. Add the carrots, celery, parsnip, bay leaves, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, and salt to taste. Cover with water and cover the pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and allow to boil gently for 15 minutes. Skim off the scum that rises to the top of the pot. Turn off the heat and allow the chicken to rest, covered, in the hot broth for 60 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth. Bone the chicken and remove the stuffing in one piece, if possible. (It will be cooked solid, like a meatball. If necessary, cut into two pieces and slide stuffing out.) Cover the meat and stuffing and set aside. Toss the bones and skin back in the broth. Partially cover and continue boiling gently over medium heat for about 2 hours.
Strain the broth, discard the solids, and defat the broth. Pour the broth in a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the dandelion greens and boil for about 15 minutes, until the greens are tender. With the remaining 1 cup of stuffing, form 12 small meatballs, no bigger than 3/4, inch in diameter. Add the meatballs and lemon juice to the pot and cook about 4 minutes.To serve, place a few pieces of chicken meat in a soup bowl. Add a slice of the stuffing. Ladle the hot dandelion greens and broth over the chicken. Add about 2 meatballs per serving. Garnish with the remaining cheese.