Chicken, Gizzards and Upo Bottle Gourd Soup

Together with the baked scallops, this chicken, gizzards, and upo (bottle gourd) soup were the last things I cooked before I finally acknowledged that I was sick and had to stay in bed. I started feeling strange on Saturday but not bad enough to change my usual routine. Despite the chills on Saturday evening (I thought the aircon’s temperature was just too cold), I managed to cook lunch on Sunday. Then, on Sunday evening, I knew I was sick and dinner consisted mostly of leftovers and make-your-own sandwiches.

As with many Filipino soups, this soup was the main course for Sunday’s lunch. This is similar to a dish that my mother-in-law used to prepare. Hers included chicken, patola, and misuse. Since no one in my family likes patola, I substituted upo. I omitted the issue as well and added gizzards because my 14-year-old daughter, Sam, made the request specifically.

Trim all the visible fat from the gizzards and simmer in lightly salted water for 45 minutes. Gizzards take much longer to cook than chicken meat so you have to pre-cook them. Chop each chicken thigh through the bone crosswise. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Peel and thinly slice the onions. Dice the tomatoes.

Heat the cooking oil in a cooking pot. Saute the garlic and onions and cook until fragrant. Add the chicken thighs and cook until opaque. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking until the tomatoes start to soften. Add the chicken gizzards to the broth. Add more water to completely cover all the meat. Season with patis and pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer for 35 minutes. While the chicken and gizzards cook, prepare the upo by paring it and scooping out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into wedges. When the chicken and gizzards are almost done, add the upo wedges and continue simmering for another 15 to 20 minutes. Just before serving, taste the broth and add more patis and pepper if necessary.