November 1st, 2011
I had a cold last week and with the weather changing, it seemed like a good time to make some chicken soup (which is purported to have cold and flu healing powers). I think my recent trip to Barcelona reminded me of some chicken soup an ex girlfriend made me once (when I had flu). This one isn’t quite the same – I remember that Nicole used lemons and dropped whole bulbs of garlic into the soup which cooked in their skins. We squeezed the garlic onto toast and it was quite delicious.
1 large onion
2 sticks of celery
6 pieces of garlic
a few sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme
2 bay leaves
a pinch of salt
8 black peppercorns
2 pints of water
Gently brown a medium chicken in olive oil to give it a little colour – mine’s a corn fed chicken, which is why it has quite a yellow colour. Once the chicken has taken some colour, add about 2 pints of water, the vegetables (peel and wash the dirty ones, but no chopping required), herbs and seasoning.
Bring the liquid to a simmer and then cook gently for an hour. I turned my chicken over half way through, to cook it evenly. Skim off any foam floating on top of the liquid. When done, remove the chicken and allow it to cool. Pick out the vegetables and herbs (discard them), then sieve the liquid to remove any impurities. Set the stock aside while you proceed to making the soup.
Chicken Soup recipe (6 to 8 bowls):
1 large onion (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
2 sticks of celery (chopped)
1 leak (chopped)
8 button mushrooms (chopped)
1 whole bulb of garlic (finely chopped)
4 slices of smoked streaky bacon (chopped)
the meat from 1 chicken (chopped)
2 pints of chicken stock
a pinch of crushed chilli
a few sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme – ground in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of coarse sea salt and 8 black peppercorns
2 or 3 bay leaves
1 heaped dessertspoonful of plain flour
Remove the skin from the cooked chicken and chop up the meat into bite sized pieces.
Fry the onion with the bacon and a large pinch of crushed chilli (to taste) in olive oil. Once the onion and bacon have taken a little colour, add the celery, carrots, garlic and leak. I’ve used a lot of garlic in this, if it’s not to your taste then leave some out, but aside from the fact I like the taste, garlic, celery and onions (from the same vegetable family) all contain lots of vitamin C, which is good at fighting colds. I’ve also read that garlic can act as a natural antibiotic, however, I believe it only works when raw and whilst this is interesting info, I’m inclined to be slightly sceptical about all the claims.
Once the vegetables have been coated in oil, add the mushrooms, then the chicken and a minute or so later stir in the dessertspoon of flour (this will thicken the soup as it cooks).
Pour on and stir in the chicken stock, drop in the bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cook the soup gently for an hour. I put a lid on mine and cooked it in the oven at 100º C, that way it cooks gently without boiling or sticking. I had intended to add a drop of white wine and a splash of cider vinegar, but the soup tasted so good that it didn’t need any extras. Even if chicken soup has no curative powers, it will make you feel good and I’m sure that helps in getting better!