I don’t like telling you what to do, but on this occasion, I must. It is almost the weekend, and it is very much Autumn, so what I need you to do, is to go out and buy a couple of raw chicken carcasses (most butchers will have them, and failing that 500g chicken wings), some ham bones, if you can get them, or a ham hock. You see with these, and some veg, you can make a sublime broth which will keep you in gorgeous soups for the week, as I have done. I just needed soup and lots of it.
A home made broth is wonderful, far surpassing any commercial pretenders. Even those home made ones you see in shop fridges will not have been made with the love and care that yours can be made with at home. Love and care brings flavour, and health, and joy. I am insisting that you give this a go.
A good home made stock will have clear strong flavours, but it is gentle too, and only ever supports what you add to it, it never dominates. Shop bought stocks, especially the cubes, always do. It is an effort, but making a big batch when you have the time is very rewarding, the bulk of the work lies in waiting for it to be done.
There are many things you can do with this stock. A steaming mug of it on its own brings great pleasure and sustenance. With shredded chicken, leftover or not, some spring onions, some coriander and some chilli, you have a vigorous bright chicken soup, with a ham backbone. It also freezes well.
This simple soup takes little time and brings much to your table. Use good rice, I used an aged basmati (seek out The Real Basmati Rice Co one if you can, single origin and aged, it will change how you see basmati rice). Cheap rice will break as it cooks and doesn’t have as much flavour.
Recipe: Rice Soup with Chorizo, Pumpkin, Kale & a Poached Egg
Serves 2, and you will have stock left over for more fun and games over the week
Ham & Chicken Broth
2 raw chicken carcasses or 500g chicken wings
Some ham bones (eg from a roast ham, sliced ham) or a ham hock (if using a ham hock, take the meat off and use for another soup, or in place of the chorizo here)
4 large carrots, sliced
4 onions, peeled and quartered
6 sticks of celery, sliced
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled and lightly bashed with a pot
a teaspoon of black peppercorns
two bay leaves
Ham & chicken broth, a ladle per bowl and some to poach the eggs
100g good rice, I used an aged basmati
1 small pumpkin or squash approx 350g, seeds removed, peeled and diced
100g good chorizo, diced small
6 sage leaves
2 very fresh good eggs (the fresher the egg, the better the poaching)
Make your broth by placing all ingredients for it in a large domestic stockpot, and covering it with water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 3 hours.
In the last 20 minutes, in one pan sauté your pumpkin and chorizo over a medium heat, you shouldn’t need oil as the chorizo is fatty, but go with your instinct. In another, boil the rice in about twice its volume of water with a pinch of good salt (I use a small frying pan, and it cooks really quickly) until almost out of water (about 10 minutes, depending on your pan). The rice should be nice and fluffy by now, if not add a little more boiling water. When the rice is cooked, cover it with a lid, or cling film, so that the rice absorbs the remaining water (there should be very little by now).
Back to the pumpkin and chorizo. After about 7 or 8 minutes when the pumpkin is soft, finely chop the sage and add to the mix. Add the rice to it, and add some of the broth, about 500ml or enough to fill the pan to an inch depth, to the rice pan or another suitable broad shallow pan. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Crack both eggs into it, with a distance between them so they stay separate and leave them cooking gently, spooning stock over the yolk if not completely covered.
When the eggs are done, spoon the rice, chorizo and pumpkin into soup bowls. Top up with the broth that you poached the eggs in and finish each bowl with a poached egg.
Sieve the broth and store for 3 days in the fridge or freeze it. Or both! Enjoy.