Chicken Soup

 

Best (and easiest) Chicken Soup in the Known Universe

When we are ill we need something that bolsters the soul not just the corporeal form.  For me that has to be really good soup – any soup – but chicken is traditional and I have it on good authority my paternal grandmother was very adept at whipping up this soup.

 

A whole chicken, organic and free range

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

3 onions, very finely chopped

3 sticks of celery, very finely chopped

3 rashers of streaky bacon, diced

3 large potatoes, finely chopped (use Sebago, Nadine, Pontiac, King Edward, or Desiree varieties - these are best suited to mashing and will break down well in soup)

3 carrots, finely chopped

1 apple puréed (finely chop, cook down and mash with fork)

2 tablespoons of finely chopped sage

3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

few sprigs of rosemary

250mls of crisp white wine

Juice of one lemon

1 litre of chicken stock

1 litre of hot water or enough to cover chicken entirely

A dash of Worcester sauce

2 bay leaves

1 spring onion finely sliced for garnish

Optional - sour cream

Fry off the onions, celery, carrots, bacon and garlic in a little butter and olive oil until softened without allowing the vegetables to brown.  Add the whole chicken, letting some of the fat render from the skin without over-browning.  Once the chicken is golden all over, deglaze the pan with the white wine, turning up the heat and allowing the liquid to boil up.  Quickly add all remaining ingredients, stir through and reduce to a simmer.

Cook for 1 ½ hours or until the chicken flesh is melting from the bone. 

Remove chicken from the soup and remove all skin and flesh from the frame, discarding the skin and bones.  Before returning meat to the pot, increase heat, bringing soup to a rolling boil allowing the potato to break down and thicken the soup.  Reduce heat, skimming any scum or skin from the surface and return de-boned chicken meat to the liquid.  Sprinkle with finely sliced spring onion and serve with crusty bread.

This soup is actually better the following day, reheated and served with sour cream stirred through.