BIG-BATCH CHICKEN SOUP
Use a whole chicken to make a big batch of family-friendly chicken soup. Treat the recipe as a base and add your choice of veg, or bulk it up with grains
250g 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 chopped onion, carrot and celery in the rapeseed 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 mixture, 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 then put a lid on the casserole.
3 Cook for 1 hr then check whether the chicken is cooked through – if it is, the meat should have started to pull away from the ends of the legs. 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.
4 Taste the broth the chicken was cooked in. If it tastes weak, 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.
5 Stir in the peas and sweetcorn (if using) along with the soup pasta and bring back to a simmer. Add back the chicken meat.
PREP: 10 MINS COOK: 1 HOUR30 MINS SERVES 4 WITH LEFTOVERS