Homecooked chicken and veg soup from scratch

When all you want is a cosy winter warmer, this soup has got you covered. Blend it up to your desired consistency, it’ll be sure to make use of those allotment veg you’ve got waiting to be used up!

It’s hearty. It’s healthy. It’s delicious. It’s simple. It’s your new favourite recipe!

If you don’t have the time to make chicken stock from scratch, just chuck in a few stock cubes and it’ll be allllllmost as tasty! But trust me – it’s worth the effort.

One top tip is to bulk produce your chicken stock by freezing chicken carcasses until you have 2 or 3, then make double the amount of stock which you can freeze for later use in cooking.

INGREDIENTS

TO PREPARE THE STOCK
1 Large chicken
2 Carrots
2 Onions
1 Large Stalk of Celery
1 Bulb of Garlic
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Tbs Butter
Mixed Dried Herbs

FOR THE SOUP
Handful Roasted Chicken
1/2 Swede
5 Medium Potatoes
Handful of Brussels Sprouts
1 Leek
3 Parsnips
6 Stems of Swiss Chard
2 Carrots
1 Onion
3 Cloves of garlic
3 Large Stalks of Celery
1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbs Tomato Puree
Mixed Dried Herbs
1 Tbs Olive oil
1 Chicken Stock Cube (optional)

METHOD

TO PREPARE THE STOCK
1. Place your chicken in a crock pot on a base of carrots, celery, garlic and onions. Put a little olive oil over the chicken and season with dried herbs, salt and pepper. I like to put a few garlic cloves and some butter into the skin. Roast in the oven until juices run clear at Gas mark 6/200 C/400 F. Rest for 30 minutes.

2. Once rested, remove chicken from the crock pot and strip all the good meat to use for later. Chuck the carcass back in the crock pot, breaking up what you can into smaller pieces as you go. Leave any smaller pieces of meat on the chicken as it all adds to the flavour!

3. Completely cover the vegetables and bones with cold water. For an even more flavourful stock, use two chicken carcasses (one can be frozen until needed). Put lid on with a small gap and simmer on medium-low for 4-6 hours. Scoop off excess fat from the top as it cooks.

4. When your stock is ready, use a sieve to strain everything out of the stock and discard, leaving just the beautiful liquid. I like to refrigerate mine for a few hours at this point so that the fat solidifies on the top and it’s easier to remove.

FOR THE SOUP
5. Chop up the vegetables for the soup, setting aside potatoes in a bowl of water and any leafy veg you are using. Sauté the rest of the veg with dried herbs and ground pepper for 5-10 minutes in a pan with a little oil. For my soup I always use celery, carrots, onions (a mirepoix) plus 3 garlic cloves and a few potatoes as a base. You can add in any other vegetables you like depending on what are available.

6. Add the softened veg to your pan with the stock, lightly simmering. Add in about a tablespoon of tomato puree and a good few splashes of Worcestershire sauce. If necessary, add in a chicken stock cube and adjust seasoning. Simmer for 10 minutes before adding in potatoes and leafy veg.

7. Once potatoes are cooked, remove half the veg from the soup and set aside in a bowl. Use a hand blender to thicken up the soup base before adding in the rest of the chunky whole veg you set aside. Add in a handful of chicken then simmer for a further 5 minutes before serving with crusty bread.

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