Chicken soup

It has been raining for days and stormy too – so thoughts turn to chicken soup.

  • Ingredients: half a chicken/chicken pieces, 2 tomatoes, one courgette, one red pepper, a handful of shredded cabbage and carrot, one chilli, a handful of green beans, a spoonful of risotto rice or barley grains, several cloves of garlic, a few strands of saffron, fresh marjoram/thyme leaves, 1 Tsb olive oil, ground black pepper and some decent salt. A glass (150ml) of white wine.
  • Alternative ingredients: any cabbage is fine, turnips, swede, a leek or spring onions. Instead of wine maybe half a stock cube with the water.
  • Method: On a medium heat, brown the chicken in the oil in a large cooking pot. (If you want fat reduced soup, halve the oil, skin the chicken and leave out the browning stage but some flavour will be lost.) Then take out the chicken, turn down the heat and add the rice, saffron, herbs and crushed garlic. Stir around together for a minute or two, then put in the sliced vegetables – save the beans for later- pepper and a little salt. Stir thoroughly and add a glass of white wine.

When the vegetables have started to cook, put the chicken back in and cover with boiling water. Once the soup comes to the boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and leave for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. If using barley, at least 2 hours. Then turn off the heat, take out the chicken, mash the vegetables somewhat, remove the meat from the bones and return the meat to the soup. Throw in a handful of green beans and simmer until they are tender. Skim off any undesirable flotsam/grease. Check the seasoning and it’s ready to go.

Serve with crusty bread, Saltine crackers, olive croutons. Here I have added a few shards of home made bacon and garlic fougasse.

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