Chicken Soup No. 1

Not because it is the best, well not necessarily, but because it is the first. You can certainly use less meat if you want, depends on whether you want a starter or a meal really.

Ingredients:

  • 2 litres of chicken stock *(home made is best, see below)
  • 500g chicken breast or thigh, raw
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 2-3 brown onions (depending on size)
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • handful of roughly chopped flat leaf parsley**
  • Cracked black pepper

Method:

  1. Peel onions and garlic. Chop onions into quarters. Add both to stock in a large pot.
  2. Chop one celery stick into small pieces, keep the others whole, add to pot.
  3. Dice carrots into pieces, add to pot.
  4. Slice the chicken into small pieces. I prefer spoon-size pieces about 10mm thick for ease of eating. They will disintegrate a bit in the cooking process depending on length of cooking time.
  5. Add parsley and pepper.
  6. Bring to the boil. When boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.
  7. Remove large celery sticks when cooked (you can leave it in if you like)

*Chicken stock is dead simple to make. I use leftover roast chicken carcasses (I have a shelf in my freezer for them) because we eat a lot of chicken. You cover them with water and cook for a long time, at least 4 hours. This gets all of the gelatine out of the carcass and thickens it up nicely. Strain the stock through a fine colander or cotton muslin (cheesecloth) to get rid of all the little bones. Store the stock overnight in the fridge before using so you can skim off the fat (schmaltz) before using the stock for soup.

**Some people like to keep the parsley in a bunch (tied with cotton twine, NOT plastic!) and remove at the end of cooking. I like to use coriander (cilantro) as well if I have it.

There are so many variations on this. I will often substitute one or two of the brown onions for red onions which gives a lovely sweetness. I don’t recommend cooking the onions before using, it overpowers the over flavours. I also love using whole peppercorns because I love crunchy cooked balls of pepper, but others in my family disagree with this approach…

Don’t forget to add the kneidlach!

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