Chicken, Leek and Celery Soup

Here’s the soup I made the other day!

Ingredients
1.4kg whole chicken (I used yesterday’s chicken carcass, plus a pack of boneless thighs)
4-5 sticks of celery
1 Onion coarsely chopped
1 Bay leaf
A few fresh Parsley sprigs
A few fresh tarragon sprigs (or use dried)
2.5 litres/4 pints cold water
3 large leeks
65g butter
2 potatoes cut into chunks
150ml dry white wine
2-3tbsp single (light) cream
Salt and ground black pepper
A few rashers of streaky bacon grilled until crisp

Method

1. Cut the breasts off the chicken and set aside.
Chop the rest of the chicken carcass into 8-10 pieces and place in a large pan (if using a pack of chicken thighs, place these in a large pan).

2. Chop celery and add to the pan with the onion, bay leaf, Parsley and tarragon. Pour in cold water to cover the ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1.5 hours. You’ve made chicken stock!

3. Remove the chicken from the stock, cut off the meat and reserve for later. Strain the stock, then return to the pan and boil rapidly until reduced to about 1.5 litres/2.5 pints.

4. Meanwhile, set about 150g of the leeks aside and slice the rest. Slice remaining leeks and celery.

5. Melt half the butter in a large pan. Add the sliced leeks and celery, cover and cook over a low heat for about 10 mins (or until softened, but not browned). Add potatoes, wine and 1.2 litres/2 pints of your chicken stock.

6. Season well with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and reduce the heat. Part-cover the pan and simmer the soup for 15-20 mins, or until potatoes are cooked.

7. Remove skin from the reserved chicken breasts and cut the breasts into small pieces. Melt butter in frying pan, add chicken and cook 5-7 mins until tender.

8. Slice remaining leeks, add to the pan and cook for a further 3-4 mins.

9. Process the soup with the cooked chicken reserved from the stock in a blender or food processor (I used a Nutribullet). Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add more stock if soup too thick.

10. Stir in the cream, plus the chicken and leek mixture. Reheat soup gently. Serve in warmed bowls. Crumble the crispy bacon on top.

OH YEAH

Amazing Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 4 leaves savoy cabbage, shredded
  • Couple slices red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Spring onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • Half a lime
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Place all chopped vegetable items into a bowl with garlic.Mix in mayonnaise.Finish with a good squeeze of lime juice and some black pepper and serve.

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You can swap the mayo for virgin olive oil if you prefer.

Red cabbage makes a nice alternative.

Chilli flakes or a bit of cayenne pepper can add a bit of heat.

Beware, you will have garlic-onion breath!

Also, the cabbage may give you gas, so feel free to omit.

Cottage Pie

I really fancied a hearty Sunday dinner this weekend, so I decided to make a British classic – Cottage Pie!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 500ml beef stock
  • Glug of Red wine
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs
  • 2 tsp all purpose seasoning
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 500g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 10g butter
  • 50ml milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat oil in pan and add mince and onions. Season with salt, ground black pepper and all purpose seasoning. Fry until minced is browned and drain any excess fat.
  2. Add garlic, tomato puree, beef stock, herbs, cayenne, red wine. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Put potatoes into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Cook for around 15 mins until soft enough for mashing. Drain well.
  4. Mash potatoes in the saucepan. Add butter, milk and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer meat mixture to an ovenproof dish.
  5. Pipe or spread mashed potato on top. Grind pepper over the top and cook in the oven for 35-40 mins until golden brown and bubbling.
  6. Voilà!

I have to say I didn’t have enough potatoes in the house, but hey ho, it was still delicious! You can also add carrots to further enhance this dish.

(Adapted from a recipe for Shepherd’s Pie in the OXO Cookbook, Quadrille, London, 2015)