Chicken soup stracciatella & Chicken patties


I love the simplicity & deep reaching nourishment this dish offers - with not too many ingredients. The broth is used to make a quick & wholesome soup - stracciatella – much appreciated among all generations in Italy. It is often served to the convalescing & to the young & elderly. You can also simply serve the broth in a cup (brodo in tazza) delicious next to any meal. You can use beef here instead of the chicken (about 750g fairly lean beef) or a combination of both.


1 whole chicken, cleaned for boiling
2 carrots, peeled
1 leafy celery stick
a few sprigs of thyme
1 large onion, peeled
about 2 litres water
6 peppercorns
about 2 tsp salt
Put all into a large pot & bring to a boil. Skim off any scum from the surface, lower the heat, partly cover & simmer for about 1 ½ hours. Remove from the heat & leave to cool a little. Remove the chicken to a plate. Clean away all the meat, discarding skin & bones. Strain the broth.


These patties are a good way to use boiled chicken – or meat. It also works well with raw beef mince, which should be mashed into the cooked potato & mixed into the other ingredients. You can also mix in some other chopped fresh herbs – mint, thyme or dill are all lovely.

serves 4-6

320 g potatoes, washed
300 g shredded chicken or meat from the broth
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
a tablespoon chopped parsley
1 egg
2 or 3 tablespoons grated parmesan
nutmeg, for grating
a few tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
a little light olive

Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft. Drain & when cool enough to handle peel & mash them. Chop up the chicken finely, mix in the garlic & mash into the potato. Add the parsley, egg, parmesan, a good grating of nutmeg & a grind of black pepper. There should be enough salt, but check just in case.
Preheat your oven to 200'C. Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper, drizzle a little oil over the bottom.
Shape the patties into rounds of about 5 cm & 1 cm thick. Put the breadcrumbs onto a plate & add the patties coating on all sides, pressing the crumbs on with your fingers. Arrange in rows on the baking paper. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the top & bake for about 20 minutes - or until crisp & golden all round.
Alternatively you can fry the patties – pouring a little light olive oil into a non-stick frying pan. Fry the patties, in batches if necessary, until golden all over, turning them gently so they don't break. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Give a small sprinkle of salt on top & serve with lemon wedges


'Stracci' are rags - which is what the strands of egg in the broth look like. This must be served as soon as it is prepared. The soup must be at boiling point before you add the egg - & not just warmed up - to create the rags.

serves 2

500 ml chicken broth
1 egg
at least 2 heaped tablespoons grated parmesan

Put your broth to heat in a shallow saucepan & bring it up to a good boil. Check the seasoning.
Whip the egg in a small bowl with a whisk. Pour into the hot broth, whisking so it gets the long stracci. Remove from the heat at once & divide between 2 bowls. Scatter a heaped tablespoon if not 2 over each serving.