Chicken Soup, Roast and Mash

Oct 12, 2015

Waking up to a cold and rainy day after a weekend spent fighting the flu sounds pretty bad on its own, but considering today is also Monday can surely add some more gloom to that. Throughout time, I’ve found a couple of home-made cold and flu remedies, that work for me and help me feel better. Some of them are more recently acquired, such as ginger and turmeric, others are timeless, like chamomile tea, but only one is universal and childhood evoking, and that is chicken soup.

Chicken soup knows many ways: simmered with either parsnip, celery root or potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion or even whole garlic cloves and tomatoes, skimmed fat or not, cooked covered or uncovered, served with shredded chicken bits, clear or with noodles. The possibilities are quite vast and they usually depend on what taste has been impregnated in our cerebral cortex, since this is where the taste of the chicken soup your mother or Grandmother made for you as a child is stored.

For me, it’s the clear chicken soup broth with a little noodles and a bit of freshly milled pepper. As a child, I remember loving it for two reasons: first, there were no vegetables in it and secondly, I used to have it with buttered bread. And let me tell you, to this day, the sensation I get when the first spoonful of chicken soup hits the buttered bread in my mouth, is pure bliss.

But now, back to the soup I made today. I kept it quite classic, since I don’t really like to mess with home staple recipes. I did add a little turmeric in the end and I used truffle noodles. After simmering the spring chickens for almost an hour, I removed them, glazed them with a little mustard and honey and roasted them for 15 minutes. I also used the vegetables from the soup and added them to a couple of boiled potatoes to make a nice mash out of all of them. So really, nothing was wasted. I used everything and it turned out to be one of the most satisfying meals I’ve had in a while. Also, the gloom dissipated like magic. I tell you, there’s magic in that chicken soup, there really is, or so I like to believe.

Fot the Chicken Soup:

One yellow onion, quartered

Two medium carrots, roughly chopped

One parsnip, chopped

2,5l/10 cups water

Two free-range coquelets/spring chicken or 1 regular chicken, grass fed if possible

250g truffle flavoured noodles (or any other noodles you like)

½ turmeric

Coarse salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Chopped parsley

If using coquelets, like I did, wash them with water and vinegar, then pat dry. On a medium heat, place the pot of water along with the vegetables and 3 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the chicken and allow to simmer, covered 45 minutes to 1 hour. After the first 45 minutes, start tasting the soup and add more salt if needed. Once the soup has reached its peak taste, which is after about one hour, remove the chicken and place on a cutting board. Remove the vegetables and put in a bowl. Strain the soup in a large container if you desire a clear soup, then return to the large pot. Place the pot over the heat, add the turmeric and mix well. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook according to the packet instructions; mine took 3 minutes. Serve immediately. Ladle into soup bowls, then season with pepper and sprinkle with chopped parsley, if you have some on hand.

For the Honey Mustard Roast Chicken

The two drained chicken from the soup

1 tblsp honey

1 Tblsp Dijon mustard

2 Tblsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard with the honey and the melted butter. Brush the chicken all over with this mixture, then place on a roasting rack. Pop in the oven for about 15 minutes, until skin is golden brown.

For the Potato, Carrot & Parsnip Mash:

4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

3 Tblsp unsalted butter

2 Tblsp milk, warmed

The strained vegetables from the soup

1 garlic clove

Salt, to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes. Strain and place in a medium bowl, add the butter and the milk and mash everything. In a blender or a food processor, whizz the vegetables from the soup along with the garlic clove until puréed. Add this purée to the mashed potatoes and mix well to combine. Taste and add more salt if desired.

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