We agree that neither of us are very good at making soup.
Unlike our Mothers who can create steaming bowls of deliciousness from whatever is thrown in the pot, ours tends to taste like a bowl of dead vegetables, a sludgy taste of nothing. So, imagine our excitement when this gorgeous new book ‘From Broth to Bowl: mastering the art of soup,’ by Drew Smith popped through to Morello HQ.
Drew basically makes it clear that a soup is only good when it has a good backbone – the broth. He has recipes for six simple versions – vegetable tea, potassium broth, poached chicken broth, basic beef bone broth, lobster or prawn broth, kombu broth – and then he says, you can create anything.
POACHED CHICKEN BROTH (Makes 4 Litres)
This broth uses a whole chicken, so you will be left with meat to use in other recipes. And because you don’t want to overcook the meat, you can pull the breast and legs out of the mix after the rest stage.
- Small whole chicken
- 3 Leeks
- 2 Carrots
- 200g Mushrooms
- Take the string off the chicken to free up its legs and lay in a large casserole or cooking pot.
- Cover with 4 litres of cold water and bring to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, trim the leeks and slice them diagonally, about a thumb-length each.
- Trim and skin the carrots if necessary.
- When the water starts to bubble, pack the leeks, carrots and the mushrooms around the chicken.
- Cover and cook gently for 45 minutes on the hob.
- Take off the heat and leave to stand.
- When cool enough to handle, lift the chicken out, carve off the breasts and legs and set them aside.
- Keep any juices and put them back in the stock with the rest of the carcass.
- Simmer for another 50 minutes and you will find the flavour develops ‘umami’ creaminess
- Strain the liquid and refrigerate until required.
COOK’S TIPS: To achieve a restaurant- style consommé, double up the process by poaching a second chicken in the same broth as you’ve cooked the first one so you are achieving twice the level of flavour.
CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP (Serves 4)
You will get a deeper flavour if you use the poached chicken stock but there is nothing wrong with a lighter broth from roasted chicken. Either will work for this essential, restorative, parsimonious noodle soup, a catch-all standby to fight colds and flu.
- 50g rice
- Knob of butter
- 1L x POACHED CHICKEN BROTH (see recipe to the left for the broth)
- 50g Farfalle or other pasta
- Handful of spinach
- Cover the base of a small saucepan with the rice.
- Melt the butter and stir in so all the grains are covered.
- Cover with the broth.
- Bring to a simmer and let it cook for 20 minutes.
- Cook the pasta separately for 10 minutes, drain and add to the soup.
- Lastly swirl in the spinach leaves to wilt.