Super Simple Soup Supper: A hearty chickensoup with no twist – which would turn vegan if you loved it enough.
Chicken soup is the Aspirin of foods. People believe it to be able to cure anything and everything. We think that it will combat any cold and that it will make you feel all warm and strong. And unlike Aspirin I would actually use this panacea (I’m not a big Aspirin hater, just a soup-lover). But next to apparent medical-superpowers this -my favourite soup – (and I am actually not kidding, chicken soup definitely is my favourite classic soup) fights away more than just one cold. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but autumn surely has arrived in Groningen and it looks like it’s only going to be a short stay until winter finally arrives. I remember how, just about a year ago, when I started to settle down in this crazy town, the days got shorter and the nights somewhat darker and I would have felt lonely if it wasn’t for the friends I made. There I sat, after a day in the cold, on the floor of one of my friend’s houseboat, sharing laughter and soup with a group of very special people. This was the first time I really felt like I belonged. Chicken soup might be a classic family dish, but luckily family extends far beyond our flesh and bones.
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I had a bit of an inner conflict about this post (Mind you, that is not the reason for posting this late – I was just busy having an off-keybord-life). This might or might not have occurred to you earlier, but thus far there has been no meat-dish on this blog. In theory that could have made it a vegetarian outlet (Unfortunately, due to all the eggs and buckets of cream I have used for recipes so far, this blog would hardly qualify as being vegan). As I said in theory, but unfortunately this is real life and in real life people are week and spineless (this is not about you…this is all about me). I could have just kept on posting vegetarian dishes, could have lied to you by saying that the stuff you read and see on here was actually a valid and accurate measure of my eating and cooking. But truth is, it’s not. Here is the thing: Eating almost no meat doesn’t make you -or me for that matter – a vegetarian. It just doesn’t. It’s not even enough (or little enough) to make you half a vegetarian, though I would like to have this as an option. And while we are at it, I don’t believe that there can be such a thing as a chicken-vegetarian (that is someone who eats no meat but chicken because chicken is… well…). I will come back to talking about eating meat (haha…sorry) in a different post, right now I can’t be bothered with writing about morals or minced meat, as I have a vegetarian lasagna in the oven that needs my attention. So I will just say that -like most dishes – my twist-less chicken soup can be turned vegetarian (and in this case even vegan) by leaving out the meat. It’s as easy as that. And it will taste just as good.
For me there is only two cases worth a proper chicken soup, one is the inevitable bowl of soup when you are all sick and lacking energy and the other is the hearty bowl of soup you are having with a bunch of friends on a cosy house-boat after a tiresome day of shopping at a wet and cold marketplace. I know it’s not as fancy as sushi, as cool as tacos or as decadent as tapas, but to me it certainly has something going for it. It is easy, as it is served hot you need to take your time eating it and it needs some time making it. It is feel-good-food. Comfort-food at it’s best.
Celeriac (about half a small head) Carrots (about four, medium sized) Onions (about one, medium sized) Leek (about half...depending on how leeky you like it) flat leaved parsley Bay leaf (about one) Salt Water Pepper Chicken (about one leg, with bone)
- Clean your veggies.
- Cut about half the carrots, onion and leek (usually I use the white part first) into rough chunks.
- Add some oil to a large pot.
- Lower your chicken-thigh skin down into the hot oil and fry the skinn-side until golden brown. Remove from the pan and strip the skin off the chicken, add some pepper and salt and eat it while it’s still crunchy.
- Add the roughly chopped veggies including the garlic to the still hot pan and give them a very quick roast.
- Add water to the pot, about two litres should do.
- Add some salt, the bay leaf, half the parsley and the chicken and let your broth-to-be gently bubble around. (Medium heat).
- Let the broth cook for about an hour.
- Chop all the remaining veggies into bite-size bits, slice the remaining leek into fine rings. Add both to a small pan with water and boil until tender.
- Remove all veggies and the chicken from the large pot. (The chicken is done when you can easily pull of the meat from the bones).
- Discard the veggies or mash them and eat them later. De-bone the chicken-thigh and add the meat back into the pot.
- Add salt and pepper to your liking.
- Let reduce a bit if you think your broth is too thin or stretch it if your broth is too strong.
- Add the content of the small pan to the big pot.
- Adjust seasoning.
Serve with some pasta or boiled potato-cubes. And garnish with the remaining parsley.
Super tip for super taste:
This soup’s intensity is correlated with the amount you use of each ingredient. The ingredients I used make soup for about two people or for one and a half meals if you are hungry), making soup is no exact science. More usually won’t hurt as you can always thin down things, it is rather hard, however, to stretch an already rather thin broth.