Canja de galinha, or simply canja, is a popular chicken soup of Portuguese, Cape Verdean, and Brazilian cuisine. The Portuguese term galinha means “hen”. The basic ingredients include chicken, rice or massa pevide. Common flavouring ingredients are olive oil, mint, salt and pepper. It is usually accompanied by slices of Portuguese broa bread on the side for dipping.
Canja de galinha is usually consumed by Brazilians, Portuguese and Cape Verdeans when they have a cold. In Portugal, Cape Verde, and Brazil, canja de galinha is widely believed to help a person overcome colds, digestive problems, and other mild forms of sickness. Interestingly enough, in Cape Verde Canja is sometimes served after the funeral, at the home of the deceased, perhaps because it ‘soothes’ the heart. It is also served in that country during special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve, birthdays, and other special family events.
Since canja de galinha is very simple and light, it is often consumed before a main course meal as well as a late supper.
- 1.3 kg chicken
- 185 g chicken giblets, chopped
- 6 cups water
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 bay leaves
- ⅔ cup rice
- juice of 1½ lemons
- 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- Place the chicken in a large saucepan, add giblets, water, onions, celery, salt and bay leaves. Cover and simmer over low heat for 2 hours.
- Remove the chicken and let it cool.
- Add rice to the broth and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the rice is soft. Stir occasionally.
- In the meantime, remove the skin from the chicken and take the meat off the bones. Discard bones and skin.
- Cut the meat into small strips and add it to the broth, add lemon juice, and serve sprinkled with mint.