The comforting and healing properties of chicken soup are legendry. My mother told me that this stems from the mild antibiotic properties found in the skin of chicken. Most chicken soup recipes call for boiling a whole chicken for a long time extracting the chicken flavours into the broth and then flaking off the tender chicken meat into the broth afterwards. This is a fabulous way of doing chicken soup, but it takes a loooong time and is pretty fiddly. So if you’re not after the natural antibiotics in the skin and have time constraints then my version of chicken soup is a good one to go with, I think.
The basis of any great soup is usually a good stock or broth. Luckily we have reached a time in South Africa where we have access to (almost) world class insta stocks and fonds. Ina Paarman has a sachet stock which is good and Nomu has a range of fonds which are awe inspiring. If you are partial to making your own stock, this is the best way to start, but if you’re not don’t feel bad, Nomu’s fond range tastes better than most home made stocks I’ve tasted.
I like to add a few aromatics to the stock and then I simply toss in a packet of pre cut veggies (stir fry packs are best for this as they are very thinly sliced) and diced chicken breast. Viola, fresh and tasty home-made chicken soup!
Bellow is the recipe I made for dinner last night. But this soup would change every time I make it according to what veggies I have at home and what aromatics I feel like adding at the time. You truly can experiment here, don’t limit yourself to the below recipe, play a little!
Express Chicken Soup
Makes about 3 litres
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 rib of celery, finely sliced
2 tsp of salt (or to taste)
½ tsp of pepper
½ tsp of mild curry
½ tsp of cumin
½ a cup of pink lentils
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
3cm of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Thinly sliced lemon zest of half a small lemon
Juice of 1 small lemon
1 tin of coconut milk
½ a cup of fresh coriander and tarragon, washed and picked
600g Pillow pack of stir fry veggies
4 chicken breasts, diced
In a large heavy bottomed pot, gently fry the onion and garlic until tender. Add the chicken stock, celery, salt, spices, lentils, sweet potato, ginger, lemon zest and coconut milk. Allow this to simmer for 10 minutes. Check the seasoning and adjust where needed. Add the herbs, veggies and diced chicken and allow to simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked (do not overcook as the check will become though). Serve and enjoy. This will last for a few days in the fridge and will freeze well too.