Ideally the freezer should never be out of some chicken stock, neatly parcelled and labelled, the sort that has simmered for hours and is full of jellied goodness. But we all know that is not always possible, and so, here´s a way to make chicken soup that will give you a steaming bowlful in thirty minutes or so.
Buy some chicken, preferably on the bone.Chop leeks and carrots, onion perhaps, celery if you like (I do), potato if you don´t want pasta later. Chop them small. This might seem counter productive if you´re in a hurry, but the smaller you chop the quicker they cook. Sweat them in a bit of oil, then add water and some good bouillon powder. I have some Marigold I brought over from the UK, but plain old Knorr is quite ok, really. And yes, I know it´s just flavoured salt, but what do you think is in those nice looking cartons of broth? Stock cubes and water, my friends, marked up to make us all look like idiots.
So, stock cube, water. Now the chicken bits. If it´s breast, then you don´t want to give it much time, but thighs or drumsticks can take twenty minutes´ slow simmer very well, by which time the vegetables will have cooked to an agreeably soft texture. At the end, throw in a handful of tiny pasta and take out the chicken. Let it rest a little and tear the meat, put it back in the pot, and taste. You´ll probably need salt, possibly some lemon juice to perk it up, definitely a dash of sherry to enliven it, a small cube of butter because it´s always a good idea, and a sprinkling of parsley to make it look good.
A bowl of this won´t keep you on your feet for a day´s skiing, but it´s just the thing for a blustery January evening.