Summer Chills

I had a cold last week, which left me full of snivels this week.  Summer colds don’t make any sense to me whatsoever, but because I haven’t been ill in ages, I suppose it was rather overdue.

Is it starve a fever, feed a cold? I can never remember.  To be honest, when I’m ill, I seem to be hungry all the time either way, but all what I want is quite simple, nourishing food.  Chicken soup is, of course, my first port of call, preferrably with plenty of buttered crackers.   I made this lemony version for dinner to satisfy my craving for that bland simplicity.  It’s incredibly light with a very clean and refreshing palate- perfect to heal what ails you. 

The broth can easily be made with any vegetables you may have lurking in your fridge- leek, spring onion, courgette, squash.  I would avoid potatoes, though, as they will make the soup a bit too starchy.  I’ve kept the seasoning quite simple, but if you were feeling adventurous you could add juniper berries, fresh or dried herbs or to spice things up, chilli, ginger or lemongrass (which would be gorgeous, I’m sure).  

Lemon and Chicken Broth 
(serves 2)

You will need:

2 carrots, peeled
1 1/2 white onions
2 garlic clvoes
1 large parsnip
2 bay leaves
salt, pepper corns
6 chicken thighs and/or legs
1 packet rice noodles
juice of 1 lemon
handful of mint

Method:

1.  Place 2.5 litres of water to boil and add the roughly chopped carrots, onions, garlic and parsnip.  Bring to the boil and add the bay leaves, salt and a tablespoon of peppercorns.  Reduce to a gentle simmer. 

2.  In the meantime, roast the chicken.  Strew with salt and pepper, a little olive oil and place in a 180 degree preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the juices run clear.

3.  Once the chicken has cooled a little, de-bone and chop the meat into smaller pieces.  Place to one side.  Add the bones and a little of the chicken fat to the pan.  Simmer for a further 20-30 minutes, until your broth has a light, chicken-y flavour. 

4.  Strain the broth and return to the heat, discarding the veg and chicken bones.  Add the cooked chicken pieces and juice of half the lemon.  Cook the noodles according to the packet’s instructions. 

5.  Add the noodles to the broth and spoon into soup bowls.  Serve with another squeeze of lemon and some torn mint.

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