Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Thrifty chicken soup

The weather decided to cool down considerably, which calls for... soup!

When I cooked Caroline's Chicken about 10 days ago, I ended up with 12 thigh bones, still with some meat attached to them, so into the freezer they went, waiting for last night. Peter loves soup and was a happy bunny when offered a large bowl (or two) of turbo-charged chicken soup.

I used the veggies I had in the fridge. If I had more, I would have used them too. Leeks spring to mind...


Chicken bones (I used the 12 I saved, but you can use a lot less or it can be a saved chicken carcass from the Sunday roast, for example. You may also use a couple of thighs, not just the bones)
2 medium potatoes
2 carrots
2 medium turnips
1 large onion
2 small beetroots
Some tomato juice or purée (not much, just enough to add some tang and colour)
2 cloves of garlic
A generous dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 or 2 glasses of dry wine, white or rosé ( I used rosé because that's what I had in the fridge)
Herbs: I chose tarragon, but you may prefer parsley, oregano, basil, whatever tickles your tastebuds.
A sprinkling of ground cinnamon
Some sweet paprika
Salt & pepper to taste

1 cup of rice (more or less, depending on how much soup you're making. You want the grains swimming in the liquid, not a mushy mess)


Chop the garlic and dice the onion. Dice all the vegetables. Fry the onions in some olive oil in a large pan until golden. Add the chicken and mix well. Add the garlic, the herbs, spices, salt, the Worcestershire sauce, stir some more. Add the wine to deglaze, add sufficient water, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Taste, adjust and cook for around 1 hour.

Take the bones out, saving as much meat as possible. Discard the bones, then put everything in the blender, whizz very well and return to the pan (if you blender is powerful, don't worry about leaving some cartilage, it all disappears and it's good for you). Bring the soup back to a gentle boil, add the rice. Wait for a bit, reduce to a simmer and make sure there's no rice stuck to the bottom of the pan. It's a good idea to stir it occasionaly, so the rice doesn't stick to the bottom. When the rice is cooked, taste again, adjust seasoning and serve with French bread or crackers. You may use those tiny pasta shapes for soups as a variation.

The strange looking thing in the small bowl may look disgusting, but it's a very tasty banana dessert. I'll post the recipe later.

As I had all those bones, I ended up making a large pan of soup, but Peter had two large bowls last night (I had the one you see in the skewy photo above, not filled to the brim like Peter's) and we had the rest for lunch today, with crispy bacon, rye bread and some St Agur cheese on the side.

(One day I'll learn to photograph food like they do in the recipe books... but they cheat and spray all sorts of things on the food to make it look good.)

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