RECIPE

Caldo del Día

“Here’s what you do to make the really lovely broth that is at the heart of so many dishes in my book, Hero Food. It literally means “our daily broth” and is not unlike the Italian brodo. Caldo is an old Spanish word that refers to the vessel as well as the soup that’s made in it. This is not a precise recipe. How could it be? People have been making it for hundreds of years with whatever they have on hand.


What can make this broth special is the cured ham bone we always have at the restaurant. We go through two hams a week and we save and freeze all those bones for our caldo. If the guy behind the counter at the gourmet deli in your neighborhood is worth his salt, he’ll know that the bone in the center of the cured ham he’s selling is pure flavor. Try to talk him out of it. It’ll give your caldo a rich, incomparable quality.” – Seamus Mullen

Ingredients

  • 1 large stewing chicken
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 large onions, cut into quarters
  • 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with the back of a knife
  • 2 slices bacon or 1 small chunk dried ham, like prosciutto or serrano, or a cured ham bone
  • 1 pound dried chickpeas

Preparation

In a very large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine all the ingredients; add 3 gallons water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours.


While the stock is simmering, it’s important to skim the impurities and here’s an easy way to do it: Move the pot off center on the burner, which will create a hot spot on the edge of the pot, forcing the detritus to the cooler surface and making it easier to skim. When skimming, dip your skimmer into the stock just below the surface over the hot spot and skim away from the heat. This will prevent you from mixing the impurities back into the stock.


Strain the broth, and chill if you do not intend to use it immediately. Seasoning depends upon the way you intend to use the broth.


– From Seamus Mullen’s Hero Food by Seamus Mullen/Andrews McMeel Publishing

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