Autumn is turning into winter, the weather is getting moodier and the days are getting shorter, darker and cosier. Out of the darkness the germs and bacteria emerge. The time of year where we are constantly surrounded by illness has come. So let’s have a look at a simple recipe for the classic soup to get healthy again: Chicken and Vegetable.
Note: I will include the German names of ingredients to make shopping easier.
- 1 Boiling Fowl (Suppenhuhn) – you can get it directly at the Oerlikon Market, just ask at the butcher stalls, or you can order them at Farmy.ch
- 4-8 Carrots (Karotten) – depending on size
- 1 Celeriac (Knollensellerie) – also known as the root
- 4 Celery Stalks (Stangensellerie) – also known as ribs
- 4-6 Yellow Onions (Gelbe Zwiebeln / Küchenzwiebel) – depending on size
- 1 Small bunch of Thyme (Thymian)
- 6-8 Bayleaves (Lorbeerblatt)
- Peppercorns (Pfefferkörner) – to taste
- Salt (Salz) – to taste
- Time (the more the better)
For this recipe I went shopping at the Oerlikon Market where you can always get seasonal vegetables from a variety of great local vendors. I got everything there besides the boiling fowl, which I ordered from Farmy. Farmy is like an online market describing themselves as an «online shop for regional and organic products». You can have your items delivered or pick them up yourself.
What I love about this recipe is that the prep is super fast:
- Wash all the vegetables and chicken in cold water, then dry off
- Chop ends off carrot and halve
- Chop top and bottom off Celery Stalks and chop into thirds
- Peal Celeriac and chop into rough pieces
- Remove skin from onions (some recipes recommend you keep it on), halve but make sure that it is still held together at least at one end.
The cooking is also really simple, but the biggest thing about this recipe is to take your time:
- On a relatively low heat fry the chicken in the pot until it starts to release some of the fats (I like to cook this recipe without any extra oil or fat)
- When you have some fat in the pan remove the chicken and replace with the vegetables. Caramelise in the chicken fat. This is the part I most struggle with because I am impatient, but on a medium temperature with occasional stirring (but not too much) let the veg go a little golden. During this process add the fresh thyme and slightly crushed peppercorns.
- Once caramelised nestle the chicken in among the rest and top up with water until everything is covered; then add the bayleaves. Keep it on a medium to low heat.
- I usually keep it covered with a lid, but make sure to refill with water if it needs it and to also keep turning the chicken every couple of hours. Also, make sure to continually skim the fat from the soup. It will be floating on the top.
- The soup is ready for the next step as soon the meat is coming off the bones of the chicken, but I usually leave it on the lowest heat overnight and then continue in the morning. Usually around 20-24 hours.
- Take the chicken out of the soup and put it in a separate bowl.
- Filter the soup with a fine sieve into another pot, capturing all of the veg, thyme and bayleaves. Remove the latter two.
- Skim the remaining fat from the broth.
- Chop the veg and add back to the broth.
- Pick the meat off the bones of the chicken (at this point it should just fall off), and add to the broth. Make sure to remove the skin and to avoid allowing any small bones into the soup.
- Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
- When I reheat the soup and I usually serve it with garden peas – also petit pois – (Erbsen in German) from the freezer. Frozen peas are great because they are frozen when they are freshly picked.
- Cooking with the chicken’s offal (Innereien in German) can enhance the flavour of the soup. In certain counties parts of the insides are even seen as delicacies. I have to admit that I have not tried it yet, but it is on my list for the next time I try to make the soup. If you do this, boil the insides along with everything else and then remove the parts you don’t want when you strain everything from the broth. If you have any questions your butcher will also usually be able to help you.
What’s your favorite chicken soup recipe? How do you fight a cold? Write it in our comment section or write an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org.