My Chicken Soup
Chicken soup is such classic, everyone has their own version. Sometimes it is a sacred family recipe, passed down with diligent, step-by-step instructions. Other times it's merely the encouragement, the sentiment... "Mum, I'm not feeling that well today." "That's no good, you should have some chicken soup." "Yes, I should..." "Chicken wings make great stock, remember." "No, I think I'll cook the whole bird, I'd like the meat for during the week."
In those cases when comfort calls and my body craves bone broth, I head to my local butcher and pick up an organic, free range bird. It's costly, but undoubtedly worth it and makes so many meals. By this I suppose I mean it creates so many meals but it also makes them, in that it elevates a humble soup or broth to star status. A quality chicken will do that.
Yes, you might like to put on your good tracksuit pants for this soup. It's pretty special. First, we make stock...
My Chicken Soup
Makes a giant pot of stock. Soup recipe serve 2 generously.
Chicken Stock/Broth Ingredients
1 whole organic, free-range Chicken
1 brown Onion
2 Carrots, unpeeled and chopped into 2-3cm chunks
2 Celery Tops (the leafy part)
1 thumb sized cube of fresh Ginger, peeled
1 large Star Anise
1 small handful Parsley Stalks
2 large fresh Bay Leaves, torn (dried will work too but I find they're not as flavourful. I might add up to 4 leaves if using dried)
1/2 tablespoon whole Black Peppercorns
Chicken Soup Ingredients 1 Leek (or 1/2 a brown onion), thinly sliced 2 Carrots, sliced into fairly thin rounds 1 large stick Celery, chopped 2 cups Chicken Stock (recipe above) 1/2 cup Peas (frozen) 1/2 cup Shredded Chicken (from stock recipe above) 1/2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
To serve, optional: fresh parsley, chilli sauce or soy sauce, rice, pasta or rice noodles...
Chicken Stock Method
1. Rinse your chicken then put it in a large stock pot. Add the rest of the soup ingredients and enough water to cover the chicken.
2. Cover the pot with a lid then bring the soup to the boil. Remove the lid and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken, shred the meat you want to eat and save it for other dishes, then return the carcass to the pot and cook for a further 6-12 hours (as long as possible).
3. Drain the stock and either: a) place into containers if you're in a rush or b) refrigerate the stock in the large pot for a few hours until the fat rises to the top, them skim it off. I often don't skim the fat, as I find when using a quality chicken you don't really need to. Freeze any portions of stock you wish and keep some for soup! PS, the vegetables cooked in the stock? I discard the celery leaf, ginger, parsley stalks, star anise, peppercorns and onion skin, and save the carrots and onion to serve in the soup recipe below.
Chicken Soup Method
5. To make your soup, heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the leek or onion, generously season with salt and sautee for for a couple of minutes until the leek softens (add a dash of water if the pan dries out). Add the carrot and celery and cook for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce and simmer for ~20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Taste and season as required. Add the peas and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken simmer for another 5 minutes to heat through. Serve with optional garnishes.
And now, we make soup. On this night below, I ladled the soup on top of some brown rice noodles before adding a dash of soy sauce and more than a dash of chilli sauce. Just go with your mood.