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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE SOUP


Good Morning to you,

Have you noticed how quickly the nights are drawing-in and how the mornings are getting a little fresher. Do you feel the chill in the air?  Mother Nature is telling us that  autumn is on it's way.

When the weather turns colder, for me, soup is the order of the day and chicken and vegetable soup is one of my favourites, it's very healthy with lots of good ingredients.



INGREDIENTS




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1 chicken carcass with some meat left on
(If you prefer use pre-made chicken stock, but you will also have to buy a chicken breast)
4 carrots
1 onion
handful of celery including leaves
8 average sized potatoes
250g red split lentils
1 x 250g tin of butter beans
(or if using dried, soak overnight and cook until tender)
1 x 250g tin of tomatoes
(if your homegrown tomatoes are plentiful,  use them, but remember to remove the skins ( mine are not very good due to the bad weather so I have used tinned tomatoes)
2 cloves of crushed garlic
Olive Oil



Place the roasted chicken carcass in a large saucepan and cover with water.  
I place a quartered lemon in the cavity when roasting the chicken
 and I don't remove the lemon
 when simmering the chicken.
 I leave the cut lemons in the cavity as
 this imparts a mild lemony
 flavour to the soup.

Bring to the boil and reduce
 the heat so that the contents are
 gently simmering.

Simmer for about an hour.


Meanwhile, chop the onion


Peel and chop the potatoes and place in cold water until needed.


Chop the celery and celery leaves



Put some olive oil in a saucepan, I use enough just to cover the base of the pan and add the onion and celery, cook on a low heat until the onions are translucent. To prevent the onions from browning, add a sprinkle of salt. 


Add the chopped carrots 


Cook for a further 5 minutes until everything is coated with olive oil. 


 Add the grated garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  



Remove the chicken carcass from the saucepan and  place on a plate.

Remove the chicken from the carcass and set aside

Drain the stock from the saucepan through a sieve to make sure there are no bones remaining in the liquid. 

Return the stock to the original saucepan.

Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic mixture to the stock.


Add the red split lentils.


 Add the potatoes


 Add the tomatoes

Simmer for 45 minutes - 1 hour


 Add the butter beans


Add the chicken 


 Check for seasoning

At this point I add the juice of half a lemon .... be careful because when I lived in Cyprus, I only added a quarter of  the lemon juice, as the lemons came from our tree and were juicy, but here in England the lemons don't impart as much juice.  Less is more, you can always add extra lemon juice, but you can't take it away. 

When you are pleased with the flavour, plate up.



We enjoy this soup with crusty bread. Often I will add small dumplings just for a change. Fresh spinach is also nice to add just before the end of the cooking time.
This is also a tasty vegetarian dish, just omit the chicken and make or buy a vegetable stock.
If you prefer a thicker soup add a few more red split lentils.
Also  you can use any type of beans, I have used chickpeas before, don't be afraid to ring the changes as soup isn't an exact measurement, you will get a feel for how you like your soup, so just make this soup your own. 

This is a cheap nourishing meal.  I cook a large batch and then freeze it in portion sizes, so it is always on hand when we need a quick supper.

I hope this becomes part of your family menu as it is a much healthier option than buy pre-made soup and very much cheaper.

This week I will be joining,



Take care and I will see you later in the week.

Until then,






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