Busy job, house hunting and marriage preparations are apparently taking it out of me, my first week off from work and my body decides it has had enough and just needs a rest. Well that is how I’m interpreting me getting ill.
It turns out a day in bed watching Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries and a couple of big bowls of chicken soup were exactly what was required.
Now I know everyone will have a view of what the perfect “feel better” chicken soup will consist of, probably based on what they were given as a child – I like sweet corn in mine as it reminds me of my mums chicken pasta bake and I much prefer (on this one occasion) to have dumplings rather than noodles or rice to make it more filling. My brother on the other hand would always insist on chicken noodle cup a soup when ill rather than the real deal.
Stock is the basis to a good chicken soup and homemade really does make it better, whenever I roast a chicken I make sure I make and freeze a load of stock, however when you are feeling unwell you want your hit of soupy goodness as soon as possible and I do use a good quality bought stock if I’m out of homemade, as I was this week.
I use brown meat as I think it gives a much better flavour to the soup and a more interesting texture in this case I used thighs but a mixture of thighs and drumsticks would work just as well. If you do have some left over roast chicken just skip the first step and make sure you use whichever meat you have whether brown or white.
My soup does have some light spice in it – no where near enough to be spicy, just to add that touch of warmth that makes it feel so nourishing when your not feeling your best – it you were bunged up I would up the chilli and ginger a bit as I find the kick really helps.
Feel Better Chicken Soup
For the Soup
- 400-500g of boneless free-range chicken thighs.
- 1 tsp herbs de provence
- 2 white onions
- 2 large carrots
- 2 bay leaves
- 400ml of good quality chicken stock
- ½ a red chili
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- Small bunch of thyme
- Small bunch of basil (I used thai basil as I had it)
- 200g fresh or frozen sweetcorn
For the Dumplings
- 100g butter
- 100g plain flour
- ½ tsp of baking powder
- ½ tsp of dried thyme
First roast the chicken for 30 mins in a medium oven with a little olive or rapeseed oil drizzled over it and the herbs de provence.
Whilst the chicken is cooking dice the carrots, onions, garlic, chili and grate the ginger. Sauté all these in a casserole dish in a little olive or rapeseed oil with a pinch of salt and pepper for around 10 minutes; they should be becoming a little soft. Add the chopped herbs and bay leaves to the pan and sauté for another 5 minutes.
Add the chicken stock to the pan along with 200-400ml of water (enough to cover all the vegetables plus 2cm of liquid) allow to cook for a further 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the dumplings and shred the cooked chicken.
For the dumplings simply rub the butter into the flour and baking powder with a pinch of salt and pepper and the thyme until it forms a wet sand like consistency, add just enough water to form into a workable dough then roll into walnut sizes balls.
Add the cooked chicken and sweet corn to the pan and drop in the dumplings, cover the pan with the lid and continue cooking for a further 15 minutes by which time the dumplings will have floated to the top (meaning they are cooked) and the soup delicious.
If I fancy a little extra texture to the soup I put the whole casserole dish without lid under a hot grill for a few minutes just so the top of the dumplings crisp up.
The chicken soup and rest clearly did its job as I’m feeling much better and ready to tackle work again tomorrow.