Chicken soup from scratch
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 4 hrs
Total time: 4 hrs 30 mins
Ingredients (Serves 6)
For the chicken
- 1.8kg free-range chicken
- 1 lemon, pierced
- Knob of butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, peeled, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 2 litres water
- 6 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- Small bunch flat-leaf parsley
- Small glass of white wine
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
For the chicken, stuff the cavity with the whole lemon and place in a roasting tin. Rub the skin with the butter and olive oil. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and roast for 1 ½ -2 hours, or until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Remove from the oven and set aside in the tin.
For the soup, heat the oil in a large saucepan, big enough to fit the whole chicken and liquid in. Gently fry the red onion and garlic for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the leeks and continue to cook for a further 3 minutes.
Remove the lemon from the chicken cavity, and place the whole cooked chicken into the pan. Pour in the water, making sure that the chicken is almost completely covered. Add 2 of the carrots and celery to the pan, along with the bay leaves, most of the parsley and white wine. Season well and then cook the soup over a low heat for 1-2 hours (up to 4 hours), checking that the liquid does not evaporate too much, adding a little water if necessary.
The soup will be very fatty and it is best to remove as much as possible or as desired. You can either routinely skim the fat from the surface of the soup as it cooks, or after cooking leave the soup to cool completely and the fat will rise and congeal on the surface so you will be able to remove it.
Remove the chicken from the soup pan and set aside. Strain the soup through a sieve into the pan.
Add the remaining diced carrot and cook for 10 minutes until tender. Shred the meat from the chicken and add to the soup. Serve in warmed bowls sprinkled with the rest of the parsley.