“Self Care Chicken Soup” from “Flavour: Eat What You Love”

img_3058There are moments in life that serve as stark reminds that time is marching on, regardless of whether or not we would like it to. One of those moments occurred when eating this soup when Andrew, 17, turned to me and said, “Can you teach me how to make this so I can make it myself when I go to university?”

[I had to take a moment to regain my composure.]

He’s got about 18 months to go before he’ll be off to university, but still, it’s already a hot topic of conversation– not to mention numerous meetings at school– as he weighs his future options. I fear it might be too late to finally construct the Harry Potter Hogwarts Lego that we were saving for a rainy day, but there’s still time to enjoy chats over after-school snacks, watch any and all shows about dogs together and to teach him how to operate the washing machine.

And, maybe most importantly, teach him how to cook.

Andrew already knows some basics, and he certainly is a dab hand at reheating things in the oven. But what he’s asked me to do is start compiling the recipes of all of his favourite foods and then teach him how to make them.

So I knew this recipe was a winner when he asked for the recipe to be added to his “Things I’d Like To Know How to Cook” list. It was a rainy cold day when we ate it and even though it’s quite simple, it’s also quite sublime.

Our particular bowls of self-care chicken soup may have been improved by the addition of freshly-made noodles (see above). But I also think this would be just as good with regular pasta. Needless to say, we all loved it and all of us were clamouring for second– and in some cases, third– bowls of it.

So while this meal may have made me a little bit weepy, it wasn’t the fault of the food. You can’t deny the march of time. Now I just need to get cracking on the cooking lessons, before it’s too late.

Apologies for the lack of photo of the actual soup. But aren’t these homemade noodles beautiful? 

Also, Google Books has indexed Flavour: Eat What You Love, so if you’d like to check out the recipe for this amazingly simple and amazingly delicious soup, click through here.

“Self Care Chicken Soup” from “Flavour: Eat What You Love”

“Smokin’ Chicken Chowder” from “Save With Jamie”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith a teenager home sick with a sore throat, there was only one thing for it: some chicken soup. Studies have shown that the chicken soup cure really might work, though I’m not sure if Smokin’ Chicken Chowder would be the sort of soup that would hasten healing.

“Save With Jamie” actually has two chicken soup recipes in it– this one and another one called “My Jewish Penicllin.” You would think if I was looking for a chicken soup cure I’d go with the latter, but it was going to take some time, attention and love, so I went for “Smokin’ Chicken Chowder”  instead.

I need to disclose that I went slightly off piste with this recipe from the very start. The basis for this recipe is a chicken carcass from a roast chicken (or “Mothership Roast Chicken,” as Jamie calls it), but as I haven’t made that yet, I didn’t have one on hand. You use the chicken carcass to make a chicken stock, and also to strip off any remaining chicken meat for the soup.

One important note: if you do have a chicken carcass to hand, I definitely recommend making your own chicken stock. I might not faithfully make chicken stock every time I’ve got a chicken carcass, but I’m always glad when I do and feel virtuous, thrifty and healthy for days afterward. But please, if you’re going to make chicken stock, do yourself a favour and don’t follow Jamie’s instructions exactly. You could do what he says and just throw the carcass in with some water and simmer to make the stock. But it would be so much better if you do that but also add a carrot or two, a peeled and quartered onion and some peppercorns, if you’ve got some handy. Your chicken stock will be so much better. You can thank me later.

For the leftover chicken that I didn’t have, I used some cooked chicken breasts that were for sale at our local Cooperative. I figured Jamie would endorse that move because I was using chicken that had the bright orange “reduced” sticker on it, which cuts down on food waste and also was the ingredient I needed. Shopping for the win.

So in short, if you don’t have leftover chicken, you can use regular chicken stock and cooked chicken breast, widely available at supermarkets. I used 1 litre of chicken stock, which nearly covered the ingredients. You might want to add more or less than that, depending on how thick you like your soup.

A word to the wise: I found when that the streaky bacon didn’t render enough fat to fry the carrots, onion and potatoes in– the pan was way too dry for that– so I added some olive oil at that point, which did the trick.

I reluctantly pureed part of the soup, as per instructions, but I feared I would have another “Soup That Looks Like Sick” on my hands, a la Bill Granger’s Sweetcorn Soup. But as I only pureed about 400 millilitres of soup, it looked ok. But bear in mind that you cover this one with crushed cream crackers, parsley and bacon, so maybe there’s enough garnish on there to distract you from the soup underneath.

Would I make it again? Yes. Crucially: would my family happily eat it again? Yes. It’s not the most exciting of recipes, but it was delicious and healthy (only 292 calories per serving, and would be even less if you didn’t add the cream). If you need to, go ahead and use chicken stock and cooked chicken breasts. I don’t think those shortcuts detracted from the taste at all.

“Smokin’ Chicken Chowder” from “Save With Jamie”