Wednesday, 3 September 2008

My Favourite Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This weekend I am travelling to Wales to visit my mother. She is 87 and has been unwell for a little while. As she has little appetite I am planning to make her my favourite chicken and vegetable soup. I think I originally found this recipe in one of the early River Café cook books, but over the years it has, as a result of me forgetting to revisit the recipe and being unable to find some of the original ingredients, morphed into the following:

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Firstly, get your stock underway by putting the following into a large pot of cold water:

about 10 chicken wings,
one onion halved (with the skin left on as this gives the stock a great golden colour),
3 carrots (scrubbed and roughly chopped),
three sticks of celery (again scrubbed and chopped),
some parsley with stalks and
about 10 black peppercorns.

Bring it to the boil and skim the surface and then let it simmer for about 2-3 hours.

Whilst the stock is simmering, chop into quite small cubes:

6 carrots,
A head of celery (with leaves if possible), and
2 large onions

SautĂ© the vegetables very, very gently in some good olive oil for about 60 – 90 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they do not catch on the bottom of the pan. By the end of the cooking period the vegetables should be very soft. This is called a sofritto in Italian cooking I believe.

When the stock is ready, strain it into the sofritto and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Retain the stock vegetables and wings. After 30 minutes add about half a large savoy cabbage (or even better a head of the Italian black cabbage cavollo nero if you can get it) which you have roughly chopped, and simmer for a further 30 minutes.

At the end of the simmering liquidise half of the soup (or stir one of those wand blenders through the whole pot for about 15-20 seconds) and then season it with sea salt and, if necessary, black pepper before adding some of the chicken meat from the wings used to make the stock (shredded roughly).

As a final touch, though probably not for an ailing mother, a good dollop of home made pesto is a perfect addition when serving.

The above may seem like a long winded process for a bowl of soup – but believe me it is worth it and it freezes beautifully too.


louise said...

Good tip about the onion skin.

I cannot believe that you are posting a 0300. Do you have the clock set wrongly on your machine. or do you have undisclosed chronic sleep problems?

TonyM said...

Um, I think it is a wrong clock setting issue!