Friday, 23 April 2010

Don't Waste That Chicken Soup

I get a weekly organic fruit and vegetable box from Abel and Cole www.abelandcole.co.uk. I love having fresh fruit and vegetables delivered directly to my door but sometimes I don't use up all the vegetables by the time the next box is delivered.

My local Co-Op sell large packs of chicken thighs and drumsticks. If you get down there early, they nearly always have a pack reduced.

You will need:
One pack of chicken thighs and drumsticks (or a whole chicken cut up into bits or any other pack of chicken bits you like, preferably free-range or ethically produced).
A potato or two
Some onions
Any other vegetables you have hanging around such as carrots, celery, broccoli. One tip is to co-ordinate colours, so go for all greens or use carrots and red peppers as this will make the soup more appealing, visually but whatever the final colour, it'll still taste great.
Salt and pepper
A bay leaf or two, some basil if you have it and/or some parsley.

Pop the chicken in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, add the bay leaves and season gently.

Bring to the boil and simmer for about half an hour or until cooked through. Test this by taking a joint out and opening it at the thickest part.

Allow to cool slightly and strain the stock into another container. It's important to do this before the stock gets too cold or it will turn to jelly and you'll end up with slimy, sticky, cold chicken.

Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove it from the bones and skin. If you are on a health kick, feed the skin to the dog. Otherwise either keep it with the chicken or with the bones, you chose.

The chicken can now be used in salads, sandwiches or tossed into a stir fry. Freeze some to use later. Keep some to put back in the soup.

Put the bones in another saucepan, cover with water and simmer for half an hour. Two lots of stock from one lot of chicken!

Chop your vegetables into rough lumps and boil in the stock until tender. The smaller the lumps, the quicker they cook. When cooked, allow to cool slightly.

Pop the boiled vegetables and both lots of stock into a liquidiser and process until you get a consistency you like. Add the chopped, reserved chicken.

This is such a great soup as it's completely different depending on what vegetables you use. Add cooked lentils, pearl barley or pasta to make it much more filling. It freezes really well (without the pasta/lentils/barley) or keeps for 3-4 days in the fridge.

Zoe

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