My Healing Chicken Soup

Back after a fabulous trip to Mexico, I returned not only with the tail end of a bout of Montezuma’s Revenge, which had plagued me for the last 3 days of my trip, but also the beginnings of a supreme cold. My body was tired and in need of something other than tacos and tequila. I turned to my old favourite; chicken soup. For reasons unknown, the recipe has not made an appearance on the site thus far, which is a crying shame. Soup made from real chicken bones gives much richer and more complex flavour and wins hands down from pre-prepared commercial stock. It really did the trick in bringing my back to life a little, and there were plenty of leftovers to see me through the next day, as my cold took hold.

A 1.5kg whole chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
2 sticks celery (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
2 stems parsley
salt & pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

Using a sharp knife: debone your chicken (it’s not so hard) – you can also get any good butcher to do this for you. Ask for the bones and carcass if you choose this option.

Preheat oven to 220ºC. Place the bones and carcass in a single layer and sprinkle over the olive oil. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the bones are good and brown. Remove from the oven and drain any fat that’s accumulated. Place into a large pan over a moderate heat and tip in the onion, carrot, celery, parsley stems, fennel and bay leaves and stir well. Pour over 4 litres of boiling water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low so that the soup is bubbling but not boiling. Cover and cook for 45 minutes. Skim the top of the soup if it becomes too fatty with a spoon or by lightly placing a kitchen towel on top to catch the fat.

Drain the soup through a large sieve and pick out the bones from the sieve and discard. Tip the vegetables back into the soup. Season with about 2 teaspoons salt (add gradually until you reach the salt level you’re happiest with), then with lots of black pepper. Chop up into small pieces the meat (not skin) from the two thighs and drumsticks. (you can use the breasts for something else). Pop this into the soup and cook for 15 minutes until cooked.

Lastly, stir in the chopped parsley and serve.

Serve piping hot with some crusty bread on the side. Get well soon…

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