A freezing cold day in Boorowa today, it’s currently 5℃ outside. I’ve given up trying to wrestle a jumper on to my two year old daughter Annabelle who says “I’m not cold!” As long as a top has ‘sleeves’ and a sparkly front, she is fine. My other daughter Charlotte is a more sensible four year old, walking out to check the cows with Pop in a jumper, jacket, scarf and beanie. “You don’t want to catch a cold Annabelle” she calls out as she climbs in to the back of the Prado, “or you will need to eat Mummy’s soup to get you better”.
Well this totally sums up what this chicken and veggie soup is meant for. Those freezing cold wintery days where everybody seems to have a few sniffles and where a bowl of my steaming hot soup makes you feel all good inside. It isn’t comforting the way a big bowl of pasta or slow cooked curry is as it isn’t heavy on the carbs, but it’s nice knowing how good it is for you as you eat it. Talk about affordable too.
I’ve been making this soup for a long time, originally given the idea of poaching the whole chook from an Australian Women’s Weekly recipe book that Soph gave me when I first got married. I’ve changed it a bit over time but still prefer it than other chicken soup recipes I’ve tried. (I also have Aunty Sharon’s recipe for a delicious creamy chicken soup to try. I hear it’s fantastic).
Lizard, a great mate of mine gave me a good tip too. Apparently she buys a barbecue chook, using the meat for sandwiches and then throws the chicken carcass in to her slow cooker. This forms the base for her chicken and veggie soup and says that it’s really tasty. I’ll have to give that a try.
This soup freezes well and I think it crucial to have some dinner rolls or a loaf of sliced sourdough in the freezer to have on stand by too.
I may not be able to get Annabelle to wear a jumper, but I can get her to eat some of my soup (only if it’s from my bowl and off my spoon of course).
chicken + vegetable soup
1 x whole chicken
2 x brown onions (1 x peeled and quartered and the other finely diced)
2 x garlic cloves, crushed
6 x whole peppercorns
3 x bay leaves
7 x cups of water
2 x teaspoons of powdered chicken stock
2 x carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 x sticks of celery, finely diced
2 x small potatoes, peeled and finely diced
1 x corn on the cob, corn kernels removed
A handful of green beans, ends trimmed and finely chopped
3 x spring onions, finely sliced
A good knob of butter
1/2 cup of risoni*
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Hot toast, to serve
- In a large saucepan, add the whole chicken, one halved onion, peppercorns, bay leaves and water.
- Bring to the boil.
- Back the heat off to the lowest heat possible and let it cook with the lid on for 1 hour and 40 minutes, skimming the fat off the top as it cooks.
- Take the chicken out of the saucepan and let it cool. (You will be able to check that the chicken is cooked by poking it with a skewer or knife and the juices should run clear). Once the chicken has cooled, shred the meat off the chicken and discard the bones. (Or keep to make more chicken stock).** Set meat aside.
- Strain the liquid (that the chicken poached in) in to another large saucepan and discard the onions, peppercorns and bay leaves.
- In the same saucepan that you cooked the chicken in, add a good knob of butter and sauté the chopped brown onion, celery and garlic until softened.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, corn and green beans and pour in the chicken stock (from the cooked chicken) and the two teaspoons of powdered stock.
- Bring to the boil and then back off to a simmer and cook for approximately 10 minutes.
- Add the risoni, spring onions and shredded cooked chicken and cook for another 8 minutes or so until the risoni is cooked through and when tasted – the veggies are nicely softened.
- Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
Serve with a hot buttered bread roll or some hot buttered toast.
- *Risoni is a type of pasta that looks similar to rice.
- **I don’t put all of the meat in to the soup. I use one of the chicken breasts to make sandwiches and put the rest of the chicken in.
- This recipe is a little bit fiddly, but once you’ve made it once – you’ll get the hang of it.
- I add the chicken stock powder to help the flavours along a bit.
- I’m by no means an expert at shredding the chicken. I make a bit of a mess of it. Just as long as you get the chicken off the carcass – there’s no right or wrong way.
If you make this chicken soup, please leave your comments below. xx