Hearty and healthy, this garlic and chicken soup is packed with flavour and goodness. The symphony of flavours in the broth are the perfect complement for the tasty and succulent chicken drumsticks.
There are three keys to the success of this dish..
It is not OK to use any brown chicken stock in this dish. You need to use this brown chicken stock or something similar that you make yourself. It is a brown stock because the chicken bones (chicken wings in this case) and vegetables are roasted before going into the stockpot. The vegetables include fennel, providing some subtle anise notes, carried through in the final dish with the charred fennel pieces. One last ingredient really sets this stock apart from the store-bought varieties – miso. This umami-packed ingredient is smeared on the roasting chicken wings, so contributing its own sweet earthy notes.
The stock is further enhanced by simmering with more vegetables that have themselves first been simmered in butter. Why butter? Because it adds a flavour note that no vegetable oil can. Being a garlic broth, garlic features in this vegetable selection. While there is roast garlic in the stock, this fresh garlic brings a more spicy note.
While the stock will have picked up some seasoning from the miso, the chicken and garlic soup is further enhanced by adding fish sauce. Fish sauce is rich in glutamates, providing a “meatier” tasting broth with no hint of the pungent fish smell of pure fish sauce. Read this Chicago Tribune article for more on using fish sauce as a seasoning.
The roast vegetables
Continuing the roast chicken theme, there are roast vegetables in the broth, including, of course, roast garlic. Roasting vegetables intensifies their flavour and brings out their natural sweetness. This is particularly true of the onion, garlic, and fennel, which really transform. The charring of the onion and fennel adds a note of bitterness to balance the sweetness.
The chicken drumsticks
While the chicken drumsticks could have conveniently completed that roast chicken theme of this chicken and garlic soup, I wanted to give them a character of their own. Marinating the drumsticks in soy, mirin, ginger, and garlic gives them a flavour profile different from the broth yet complementary to it. They are also cooked using the sous vide method, resulting in them being tender, succulent, and very tasty. Finally, the skin was crisped up under the broiler, developing those complex caramel notes that the Maillard reaction is so good at.
Garlic and Chicken Soup with Roast Vegetables
- 1 large onion
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 200 g baby carrots
- 200 g baby zucchini
- 16 large cloves garlic
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Marinate drumsticks in the soy, mirin, ginger, chilli oil, and garlic – several hours or overnight
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and allow to drain.
- Put the drumsticks zip lock or vacuum seal bags and remove the air.
- Sous vide for 2 hours at 71 degC.
- Broil the drumsticks in the oven to brown the skin.
- Peel the onion and dice.
- Wash the medium sized carrots and dice.
- Peel the garlic cloves and crush under the side of a knife.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat.
- Add the diced vegetables and sweat until the onion has softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Strain the vegetables from the broth and return the broth to the heat.
- Add 1 Tbsp fish sauce and check seasoning. If it needs to be more salty, add another Tbsp of fish sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degC.
- Quarter the onion through the root end. Keeping the root end should keep the quarters more or less intact.
- Remove the stalks from the fennel bulbs, then halve vertically. Remove the hard core.
- Wrap some foil around the stalks of the baby carrots to protect them from the roasting heat.
- Top and tail the baby zucchinis.
- Halve the large garlic cloves.
- Lay the vegetables on a baking tray and splash with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Roast the carrots, onion (in 1/4’s), fennel (in 1/4’s), zucchinis, and halved large garlic cloves until done. The onion and fennel should be getting charred. The carrots and zucchinis will be getting soft with crinkly skins. The garlic should be golden brown. Each vegetable may not be done at the same time, so remove them when they are done.
- Remove the foil from the carrot tops.
- Distribute the roasted carrots and zucchinis, onion and fennel pieces, and chicken drumsticks between 4 bowls.
- Add broth to the bowls.
- Drop the garlic pieces on to the broth.
- Garnish with perilla, shiso, or basil.