Sometimes, you just need a dinner that’s quick and painless to prepare, but that feels utterly nourishing. I tend to find that a wee kick of chilli is all a dish needs to have to make me feel like I’m being spring-cleaned from the inside out, and this easy broth has that in spades. It also happened to be beautiful to photograph! I love these dotty blue pasta dishes – they’re perfect for portion sizes and the blue and white looks gorgeous against the rough wood of the table.
This is a versatile recipe, and once you have the basics, the world is your oyster in terms of variations. I’ve included a few below to get you started.
Simple healing chicken soup
The leftover scraps from a roast chicken carcass (this is definitely the best kind to use – I find cooking chicken fresh from breast or thigh is just a bit flavourless – you’re looking for all those delicious salty umami flavours that come from the roasting process)
A handful of greenery – I used sugarsnap peas, but you could use spinach, mange tout, frozen peas, kale, shredded cabbage, whatever you fancy
A tiny dried red chilli, or a larger fresh one, chopped up
A thumb-sized nub of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
A big fat clove of garlic, crushed and chopped
A big pinch of cinnamon
Around 1 litre of chicken stock – ideally fresh, but if not you can use good quality cubes
A few shakes of soy sauce
A small handful of chopped coriander, to serve
- Prepare your stock, and add the garlic, chilli, ginger, cinnamon and soy sauce. Bring it to a gentle simmer in a saucepan for around 10 minutes – you want all the lovely flavours from the spices and aromatics to come out and meld together
- Add the shredded chicken to the pan, and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes – make sure it’s piping hot, for obvious reasons.
- Just before you’re about to serve, turn off the heat, and add the greenery. I love a bit of bite in the veg, the sugarsnaps had this lovely crunch that would be lost if you overcooked even just a bit.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with the chopped coriander sprinkled across
There’s loads of ways to vary this – try using the leftovers from a different roast (pork or beef would work really well); add ribbons of carrot or shredded red cabbage to the mix.
You can make this recipe vegetarian (or even vegan) by using good-quality vegetable stock (check it’s vegan on the label – many brands aren’t!).
Add dried mushrooms at the same point that you would add the chicken and simmer for the same amount of time – dried work so much better because of their depth of flavour. My mouth is literally watering as I think about it!
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to Eat’