It may not be quite the blustery winter weather here yet, but the nights cool down enough for me to saunter to the wine rack and stare longingly at a bottle of red. The change in seasons is comforting, bringing crisp mornings filled with blue skies and everlasting sunshine. You get the best of both worlds – the warm dressing gown and cup of tea in the morning, moderately warm days without blistering sunshine and nights cool enough you don’t need icepacks placed precariously on your body to simply romanticize the idea of sleep. Autumn, I love you (almost as much as spring, shh).
Chicken soup is magical. It’s been so named ‘Jewish penicillin’ for its ability to help reduce upper-respiratory inflammation, clearing up head colds, sneezes, sniffles etc. It’s not quite proven what exactly in chicken soup has such superpowers, but I know I feel better after a bowl of this. I’ve added the extra superpowers of kale and lemon to help you fight any nasties, and kept it free of noodles for extra lightness and for those who are gluten-intolerant. Feel free to add in noodles, rice or pasta to bulk it out, depending on your appetite. But of course, you need not be sick to make a bowl of this wonderful stuff.
You start with making your own stock – a habit which you should definitely make regular. You’ll have about 1-1.5 litres left over, with which you can make risotto, drink as is, or simply freeze. If you’ve got homemade stock already (and I can’t stress enough how important it is to have the homemade stuff for this recipe) simply skip the stock-making process and add in a poached chicken breast – easy! Now, in terms of wine-pairing, I’m not sure this soup is traditionally paired with red, but who’s watching?
chicken, kale + lemon soup (Jewish penicillin) – serves approx 4, depending on appetite + add-ins – gluten + dairy free
for the chicken stock – adapted from Bill Granger’s Everyday
- 1 large organic chicken (or 1.5kg chicken bones)
- 2 onions, skins intact, quartered
- 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 leafy celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
for the soup – adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 large or 4 small garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 2 carrots, cut diagonally into half-inch thick slices
- 2 celery stalks, halved lengthways and cut into half-inch thick slices
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 litres homemade chicken stock
- 2 cups shredded chicken leftover from stock (if you are using bones instead of a whole chicken to make the stock, simply bring a small pot of water to the boil, place a large chicken breast in ensuring there is enough water to cover it, turn off the heat and cover for 25 minutes then shred)
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 60g shredded kale
- for serving, extra virgin olive oil and cracked pepper
here’s what you do…
for the chicken stock
- Place all ingredients into a large stockpot and pour over 4 litres of cold water. Slowly bring to the boil, then simmer for 2.5-3 hours.
- Strain stock, shredding and reserving chicken and discarding vegetables. If using chicken bones instead, discard these also. Refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for a few months.
for the soup
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf, stirring for 5 minutes or until softened.
- Pour in the stock, bringing it to the boil. Add in the chicken and season well. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. At this point, you can add noodles, pasta or rice in with the vegetables, if you so wish.
- Add kale and lemon zest and juice, and turn off heat. The residual heat is all you need to soften the kale – we don’t want mush! Serve steaming hot drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh cracked pepper.