Big-batch chicken soup
A whole chicken makes a very big batch of chunky soup plus another couple of meals if your children are small – older ones may eat all of it. Treat the recipe as a base and use whatever veg you like; green beans, spinach, kale and chopped tomatoes all work well. Sofrito mix is available in supermarkets and is a very useful freezer standby. To bulk up the soup, add rice or your choice of grains.
Take to school in: a wide-necked thermos. Don’t forget the spoon!
SERVES 4 with leftovers PREP 10 mins COOK 1½ hrs EASY G
250g sofrito mix (or mixed finely chopped onion, carrot and celery)
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 chicken, elastic or string removed
1 bay leaf
2 low-salt chicken stock cube melts or cubes
200g frozen peas
200g frozen sweetcorn (optional) 200g soup pasta or dried noodles snapped into pieces, cooked 1 Fry the sofrito mix in the oil for about 10 mins until it is really soft and the onion is translucent. Do this over a low heat and don’t let it brown. Tip into a casserole.
2 Sit the chicken on top of the sofrito, add the bay leaf and stock melts and enough cold water to come most of the way up the chicken. Bring slowly to a simmer and then put a lid on the casserole. Cook for 1 hr, then check whether the chicken is cooked through – the meat should have started to pull away from the ends of the legs if it is. Carefully lift the chicken out of the pan and let it cool a little, then ease the breast meat from the carcass. (Cool and chill the breasts if you want to keep them for another day, or chop them if you want to make a generous batch of this soup.) Strip the remaining meat off the bones and chop it into cubes small enough to sit on a soup spoon.
3 Taste the broth the chicken was cooked in and if it tastes weak then boil it for 15-20 mins to reduce it, then taste again. Don’t season it until you are happy with the flavour. If you want to chill or freeze some of the soup base, do it now and add the rest of the ingredients later when you reheat it. Stir in the peas and sweetcorn (if using) along with the soup pasta and bring back to a simmer. Add back in the chicken, then pour into a thermos.
GOOD TO KNOW 1 of 5-a-day PER SERVING 424 kcals • fat 20g • saturates 5g • carbs 29g • sugars 5g • fibre 5g • protein 30g • salt 1.6g