Since it's grown quite chilly out these past few weeks, and since this is one of the few meals that I cook from scratch reasonably well, I thought I would share my recipe for chicken soup with you all! And most handy of all, it's really two meals in disguise.
Start with your first meal: a traditional Sunday roast chicken with all the trimmings. I always buy organic free range chickens because even without all of that battery/welfare awfulness, they just taste better and they also give you the opportunity to support your local butcher.
I stuff my chicken with a lemon chopped in half and rosemary, then I cover the top in bacon. I won't go into how to make a full roast chicken because that's something for another time. But! I will say that to tell when a roast chicken is ready, take it out of the oven and rotate the leg joint while peering at the crack between the leg and the chicken - if the juice that comes up is clear and not in any way bloody, it's ready. And if your chicken is genuinely organic, it won't overcook easily or go dry, they're magic chickens or something.
For the soup, once you've stuffed yourself with your roast dinner, take every edible piece off the chicken and set it aside. Then dump the bones, and the leftover gravy along with everything that wasn't eaten (except the lemons!!) into a big soup pot and simmer until it all falls apart - it'll take two to three hours (again, if your chicken is a good free range one, you shouldn't get a big layer of fat on the top after an hour of boiling, but if you do you can just skim it out with a spoon). Add two chicken stock cubes, these are my favorite, and any extra herbs you like - I use thyme and sage. Yum!
Once your stock is ready, strain it into another saucepan and add the rest of your soup ingredients. I like to add the leftover roast chicken all chopped up, along with some broccoli, onion, courgette (zucchini), carrots, kale, beans, and sometimes even a little bit of pasta or leftover roast potato. Anything goes with chicken soup, really. When I was at Uni I pretty much lived off this stock recipe, only adding sweetcorn, chicken and matzah balls when I could get them - the north east of England doesn't have many shops that sell matzah mix!
One of these soups will last a whole week for two people. Also it freezes really well if you're afraid it won't last. It's really such an easy recipe and its my absolute favourite comfort meal. I hope you like it!