By Jan Bilton
Hurray! Soup weather has arrived. For me, Monday’s lunch is also Wednesday night’s dinner. I simply double the recipe then freeze it in meal-lot quantities. A good soup is a meal in one bowl, nutritious and easy to eat.
Soup is as old as the history of cooking. It was an economical way of using cereals (roasted and ground into a paste), animal bones and vegetable trimmings cooked in water to produce a hearty meal for rich and poor alike.
While chicken soup is undoubtedly the world’s favourite, there are many variations based on the traditions and character of a country’s cuisine.
LEMON & CHICKEN SOUP
If the lemon has thick skin then discard the pith. Use the rind (finely grated) and the flesh (chopped).
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1kg chicken drumsticks
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
500g potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 thin-skinned lemon, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seed
6 cups chicken stock
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy saucepan. Sauté the seasoned chicken in batches until the skin is golden-brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Sauté the onion and garlic on medium-low until softened but not brown. Add the potatoes, lemon and fennel seeds. Stir well.
Return the chicken to the pan with the stock. Season. Simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the chicken is falling off the bones.
Remove the chicken and cool a little. Discard the skin and bones. Shred the chicken and return to the saucepan. Simmer on low for another 10 minutes. Add chopped parsley, if preferred.
Great served topped with thinly sliced lemon and yoghurt or sour cream sprinkled with and sumac. Serves 6.
- Jan Bilton is a Cambridge-based, professional food writer. For more soup recipes visit her website.