Some may say that it’s nothing special. Easy to make. Not sophisticated. But nothing more wrong! To make a proper rosół you need some experience, patience and/or skill.
Traditionally, rosół is eaten in Poland on a Sunday, served as a plain chicken stock with egg noodles (makaron). And if there is any dish I could describe as ‘miraculous’, that would be it.
Nutritious, healthy, warming, homely. And so simple.
Got a cold? Make rosół. Feeling unwell? Make rosół. Missing your Mum’s cooking? Rosół is your answer.
One of my friends called it in Japanese kenko soup (健康スープ) which translates as ‘health soup’ and I think it’s the best description for it.
POLISH SUNDAY CHICKEN SOUP
1 whole chicken
2 cloves of garlic
1 cabbage leaf
turmeric powder (optional)
HOW TO MAKE?
1. First of all, to make a good rosół, you need patience. The longer you cook it, the better. And add salt at the end! Not when you start. Use a big pot so you don’t need to add any water while cooking. Onions – the best option is to burn them a bit over a fire or (if you have an old-fashioned electric hob) place sliced onion on the hot hob to burn it until a bit black, add to rosół straight away.
2. Don’t use frozen meat, the fresher the better. Carve your chicken, separating legs, wings and breasts, don’t throw out the bones though. We are going to use it all. Wash the meat and place it in a big saucepan. Add cold (!) water, should cover the meat and a bit more (remember you are to add the vegetables so you are going to need some room for that). Put the saucepan on the heat and slowly bring it to a boil (small heat!). Once boiled, turn the heat down. Important: you can bring it to a boil only once! Later it should only delicately simmer on low heat.
3. Keep it covered with a lid, not entirely though. While boiling the meat, you will get loads of nasty-looking foam on the surface. Remember to collect all of it with a slotted spoon, and keep doing it until the soup is clean. When you see that the meat doesn’t ‘produce’ any more foam and it seems to be cooked, add the veg. Don’t cut the vegetables into small pieces. Keep them rather big: carrots in halves (if small), same for leek and parsnips, celeriac in cubes, cabbage leaf as it is. Add the onion after burning it over the fire. Add a little bit of salt.
4. Now you need to keep it simmering for quite a bit until the vegetables are cooked. Don’t bring it to a boil again! If you see that your rosół doesn’t look quite good for some reason (for example you let it boil more than once), you can add a pinch of turmeric powder. That will give your roółl a nice, lively yellow colour (but it’s cheating!). If you want to clarify your chicken soup, you can take out all the meat and veg when cooked and pour it to another saucepan through a sieve, to get rid of all unwanted bits.
5. Serve with egg noodles (pasta), cooked earlier. You can buy them or make yourself, try the recipe for homemade pasta (makaron), just the way my mum makes it. Plus, mandatory freshly chopped parsley to sprinkle.