I am not sure about you, but as the weather grows colder, my desire for salads wanes and I get a burning desire to making warming foods. With university going back next week and flu season fast approaching, I thought the best prevention would be a big batch of chicken soup. This recipe is super-fast to whip up if you have a pressure cooker and still pretty easy through the stove top method.
500g of chicken (approximately) – This can be a fresh chicken, chicken wings/drumsticks, saved carcasses or my personal favourite, a barbeque chicken.
500g stock vegetables chopped into small pieces – My personal choice is leek, onion, celery, carrot
1 tablespoon oil of choice, I used olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder or granules
2 tablespoon mixed herbs or bouquet garni
3 bay leaves (I put six because I am crazy about bay)
Salt and pepper to taste (for me, about a teaspoon of each)
I often like to finish the soup with some grain mustard to add acidity, and also some Worcestershire sauce to increase umami but these are optional.
NOTES: For this recipe I purchased all of my ingredients but usually I have some left over chicken carcasses/bones and vegetable scraps (celery bits, carrot tops etc) that I freeze for this very purpose. In this case, I would definitely strain my soup and then add fresher vegetables at the last step. Adding new vegetables at the last minute would also keep the texture of the vegetables firmer. In this soup, I used a bouquet garni, which are herbs inside a mesh casing. This can be found in the spice section of supermarkets. I feel it gives a clearer broth as it can be removed later.
Method Part 1
- Heat oil inside a soup pot or pressure cooker, once slightly smoking, tip in the vegetables and sauté until soft.
- Once vegetables are soft, place all other ingredients except for mustard and Worcestershire sauce into the pot with the vegetables. Try to have the chicken flat on the base of the pan; otherwise everything under it may burn.
- Fill the pot until three quarters full with water, making sure to leave space at the top for pressure/steam to build.
- If you are using a pressure cooker: seal the pot and bring to pressure. Cook at high pressure for anything from 30 mins to an hour, depending on how much time you have. An hour gets a much richer broth.
- If you are cooking on the stove, seal the pot and simmer on low for 3 hours. Check regularly and stir to prevent burning.
- At this point there are a few options. The soup is technically ready to be consumed if desired but adding a tablespoon of mustard and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce at this point really bring the dish together.
Method Part 2
- You may choose to strain your soup into a clearer broth, or do as I do, and use tongs to pick out the larger bits and serve around them.
- If you are using raw chicken as the base of your soup, you may find that it is very oily/fatty. In this case you will have to clarify the soup.
- To clarify the soup: place the soup in an airtight container in the fridge overnight until the fat rises to the surface and solidifies to the point it can be scrapped off. In the picture the container and bowl on the left have not been clarified, whilst the container on the right shows how much fat builds up. The mug in the bottom right corner of the picture shows the clarified soup.
I always make a ton of soup with the intention of saving some for later. I split the soup in half, placing one serve in the fridge for now and the rest in the fridge for later. The soup happily lasts 3 -5 days in the fridge (though I always finish it before then). I freeze single serve portions in zip lock bags for later; these will last up to three months.