I spent quite some time thinking about this post – all of five minutes – before deciding to indulge the foodie within. If you must blame anyone then please blame Maggie O and SweetMother. Those dear lady bloggers are talking diets and food at the moment and I’m just too weak to resist such a potent trend so what else could I write about except my Mother’s chicken soup?
My Mum swore that chicken soup could cure anything. Sadly no double-blind experiments were ever done to prove or disprove that assertion so I can’t promise you a cure for cancer or bunions or sagging boobs but it does taste wonderful and is one of the easiest recipes I know. Plus! You don’t have to go out and buy a ton of fancy ingredients. All you’ll need are a few common vegetables, a chicken and some soup noodles. So let’s begin!
Hungarian Chicken Soup Recipe
1 whole chicken or chicken portions with bones - think wings, drumsticks etc. The flavour comes from the bones people.
1 brown onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 good sized carrots
4-5 sticks of celery
1 parsnip [optional]
1 capsicum [sweet bell pepper]
salt & pepper [white or black according to taste]
Put the chicken into a pot at least twice as large as the chicken. Fill with cold water and bring to the boil.
Peel the onions and garlic and throw into the pot whole.
Wash the celery sticks, cut in half and throw in the pot.
Peel the carrots [and parsnip if using], cut in half and throw in the pot.
Wash the capsicum [bell pepper], cut in half and throw in the pot.
Wash the parsley [about 2 small handfuls] and – you guessed it – throw in the pot.
By now the water should be close to boiling and you should see a pale foam starting to come to the top. Skim the foam off a couple of times with a ladle so you end up with a nice, clear broth at the end. Once the foam stops, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, add a little bit of salt and a fair bit of pepper, put the lid on and go away for about 2 hours.
The biggest secret to flavour is time. You’ve put all the good stuff in now let it cook long enough for all those flavours to combine.
When the soup is cooked you will have a number of options :
I’m hungry now option
In a separate pot cook some fine soup noodles [I use angel hair noodles that take about 3 minutes to cook].
While the noodles are cooking grab your trusty ladle and skim off as much of the fat floating on top of the soup as you can.
Drain the noodles, serve up into bowls and top with the cooked carrots and lots of chicken broth. Add extra salt because my recipes are never salty enough and eat!
I’m on a diet option
Nothing terribly tricky for this one, just patience and a bit of organization.
Pour the soup through a strainer into another pot. Reserve the carrots [and chicken if you like boiled chicken] and throw the rest into the compost.
Let the soup broth cool a little then cover and put in the fridge overnight.
When you’re ready for dinner the next night, skim off all the congealed bits of fat floating on top of the broth and discard. What you’re left with is a rich broth with no fat. Reheat and serve as for the ‘I’m hungry now‘ option.
I’ve had enough soup now option
The broth will last for about 3 days in the fridge. After that you can freeze it in smaller portions. I use these portions to add extra flavour to everything from rice to sauces to stews. And of course you can always just reheat them as soup! Nothing goes to waste
I probably shouldn’t write this next bit as it completely ruins the healthy, low fat tone of the soup recipe but… I sometimes whip up some crepes to round off a soup meal and fill those last few holes. They are delicious served with cinnamon and sugar or jam or even just lemon juice and sugar. If you’re good and ask nicely I may post my recipe for quick, easy crepes on another day when I’m feeling self indulgent…