How many times have I talked or written about or extolled the virtues of chicken soup? Too many and yet not often enough. It is the very best thing. Soothing, rich but not heavy, and receptive to so many things. Chicken noodle soup loves to be just itself, but is also loves spice, a little curry, and most vegetables deal very well with being here. It is fond of carbs, as we all are. I adore a noodle but some pumpkin is beautiful in here too. Soft and slippery but still firm, and full of the gorgeous flavour of the chicken broth that it has cooked in.
When I have time, I love to make my own broth. There is something so soothing about it and the results are gorgeous. Although it isn’t really a time issue as the prep is so minimal. It is more whether I have the attention to give it if I am not spinning too many other things. I coarsely chop my vegetables – carrots, onion, celery, garlic (lots of), peppercorns, a couple of bay leaves and celeriac – and put them in my pressure cooker with a couple of raw chicken carcasses (£1 at my local farmer’s market!). If I can’t find carcasses, I use half a kilogram of chicken wings – and let them all pooter in there for 45 minutes once they hit pressure.
My pressure cooker is my go to for stocks, the results are clear and intense yet bright. I make all my stocks in there now. (I bought this Fissler pressure cooker a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back since – it is worth the cash – I love making beans in here too from dried, and you know how much I love them). If you want to make your stock in a normal stock pot on the hob give it two and a half hours and make lots of it which you can freeze or bag up for the week.
It is cold season and it is also COLD so it is the perfect time for soup of all types, especially this chicken soup. Make it and luxuriate in it. It will sort everything out, even just for a little while. Also, don’t stress about the stock if you are ill or don’t have time. I used a lovely shop bought stock for this one. (Most butchers sell homemade stocks too but the fresh ones in the supermarkets can be quite good).
Other Essential Recipes for Chicken Soup Obsessives or Those Suffering Colds
- 75g diced pancetta or streaky bacon
- 1 small onion, peeled cur in half and sliced finely
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small pumpkin, seeds removed and diced into about 1cm dice (I used 300g of delicata squash, with skin)
- 500ml good chicken stock
- 100g fideua noodles or broken spaghetti
- 2 heads of pak choi, ends removed and leaves separated
- 2 heaped tbsp creme fraiche (one per bowl)
- finely chopped chives or garlic chives to finish (I used garlic chive flowers here which have the same flavour)
- some mild chilli like Korean gochugaru or pul biber - to taste, I use a teaspoon
- optional: a dollop of creme fraiche per bowl to finish
- sea salt
- white pepper
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