May 5, 2011

Sophie Dahl's Chicken Soup (Best croutons EVER!)

I have made this soup a couple of times. It is a really lovely thing to cook on a lazy day, or to have bubbling away between breakfast and errands and things.  The croutons are truly sublime, cooked in the leftover fat from the roasted chicken. Y to the UM.


For the chicken

  • 1.8kg free range chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • knob of butter
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the soup

  • 2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – peeled and chopped
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 2 litres vegetable of chicken stock
  • 2 carrots – cut into pieces
  • 2 celery stalks
  • some bay leaves
  • small bunch of parsley
  • white wine

To finish the soup and serve

  • 2 stick celery – chopped into very small pieces
  • 1 large carrot – chopped into very small pieces
  • 1 leek – cut into small rounds
  • 2 large handfuls of freshly shelled peas
  • small bunch of tarragon – finely chopped
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley – finely chopped
  • fresh parmesan – grated just prior to serving
  • small sourdough loaf – ripped into pieces

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  2. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the whole lemon, whole peeled onion and bay leaf. Rub the skin with some butter and a little olive oil. Season and roast about 1 ½ hours at 180C FAN/200C/Gas Mark 6 until cooked right through. Keep the roasting tray and juices to one side to be used later on.
  3. For the soup. Gently fry the red onion and the garlic in a large saucepan big enough to fit the whole chicken and liquid in
  4. Add the leeks
  5. Put in the whole cooked chicken once it is roasted – remove the lemon from the cavity before you do this
  6. Add 2 litres of stock – and make sure that the chicken is almost completely covered
  7. Add the roughly chopped carrots and celery sticks
  8. Add several bay leaves, the small bunch of parsley and a lug of white wine
  9. Leave the soup to cook for around 4 hours – check the liquid doesn’t evaporate too much and if necessary add a little water.
  10. When the soup is cooked. First toss the sourdough chunks in the original roasting pan from the chicken and place it back in the oven for around 15 minutes at 180C fan/200C/Gas mark 6 while you are finishing off the soup.
  11. Heat a little oil in another large pan, gently fry and soften the remaining sticks of chopped celery, the carrot and the leek
  12. Remove the chicken from the pan and strain the soup from into the softened vegetables
  13. Add the fresh peas and allow to cook for a minute.
  14. Shred some of the chicken meat (enough for as many portions as you need)
  15. Serve the soup with the meat, tarragon, parsley and freshly grated parmesan – with the roasted pieces of sourdough bread on the side