I could eat soup all year round, not just when icy winds are blowing outside. Well, especially then but I even like soup in summer. It can be one of the easiest and most nutritious meals you can make. I prefer to make my own stock, be it vegetable or chicken, as I know exactly what goes into it. There are, however, some pretty good ready-made stocks available at the supermarket these days. Keep a couple in your pantry as a ready-made base if you decide at short notice to whip up a soup.
If you do decide to make your own stock, it’s really quite simple. I’ve even made stock from the leftover bones/meat from a store-bought barbeque or home roasted chicken. Just follow these simple directions:
Easy home-made chicken stock (using left over chicken bones)
Into a large saucepan/pot place your leftover bones, skin and meat from a chicken carcass. Add any vegetables like onion, carrots, celery (leafy tops as well as stalks) and parsley. Cover with water and add 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and ground pepper. You can also add a dried bay leaf or some sprigs of thyme.
Bring your stock to the boil then reduce the heat so that it’s barely simmering. Simmer partially covered for around 4 hours. You may have to skim off any ‘foam’ that appears.
Remove the bones and vegetables with a slotted spoon and discard. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve. If there is still meat on the carcass you can put that aside to go into your finished soup or another dish.
Your stock is now ready to be made into a soup or you can freeze it for later. Stock will last 4-6 months in the freezer or 3-4 days if kept in the fridge.
How easy is that? Nutrition-wise it’s better than using stock cubes and water! Google the benefits of bone broth. Plus, if I’m going to eat animal protein, I believe that I should use as much of that animal as possible.
The following is a delicious Asian style chicken soup. The recipe is from the Taste.com.au website I also added some finely shredded carrot, thinly sliced mushrooms, squeeze of lemon juice, sprinkle of fish sauce and fresh coriander to mine. Just tweak the recipe to suit your taste (and whatever is in the fridge!).
Asian style chicken & noodle soup
450g fresh thin hokkien noodles
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 small red chillies, deseeded, finely chopped (optional)
6 cups home-made or store-bought chicken stock
500g chicken breast fillets, trimmed
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons brown sugar
4 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 bunch baby bok choy chopped
Green onions, finely shredded, to serve
Place hokkien noodles in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Stand for 3 minutes or until tender. Drain and separate noodles.
Heat peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic and half the chilli. Cook for 30 seconds. Add 2 cups stock. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add chicken. Cook for 5 minutes or until just cooked through. Transfer chicken to a chopping board. Slice crossways into strips.
Add remaining 4 cups stock, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar to soup. Cover. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to the boil. Add green onion and bok choy. Cook for 1 minute or until leaves just wilt.
Divide noodles between bowls. Top with chicken. Ladle boiling broth into bowls. Top with shredded green onions and serve with remaining chilli on the side.
Enjoy but don’t slurp!
Until next time…
PS. Spring has arrived here on the coast. Love this weather.