Wednesday, 7 May 2014

A Feel-Better Meal!

Zuppa di Pollo & Anelletti Mediterranea
Mediterranean Chicken Noodle Soup


Sometimes it just has to be chicken soup. You are feeling under the weather, aches and pains, hot and bothered and it is all because of some niggly cold bug you have managed to pick up... THAT is the perfect time! And that time is NOW for poor old me!

So I consulted my fridge, took stock of what was there, and as I didn't have any ginger (alas!), which I usually love to add to my chicken soup, I decided to do something a little closer to home rather than something Asian...


So with some Sicilian Anneletti pasta, Italian cherry tomatoes and bay leaf, French tarragon, Spanish red pepper and local German parsley and thyme, I decided to cook it all up and see what I got! Which meant quite a lot of great flavor and that's for sure!


This was a mild and simple soup- perfect comfort food for those "down-in-the-dumps" days, using simple ingredients you might pick from your own garden... with no great surprises. We will save the surprises for another day, when we are feeling better prepared for them!


To make 2 bowls of delicious soup I needed 1 chicken thigh, 1 stick of celery, 1 carrot, 1 red pepper, 1 shallot (not seen in this picture... I forgot it! Duh!), a handful of cherry tomatoes, parsley, tarragon, bay leaf and thyme. And of course the noodles... but we will get to them soon enough!


The only prep-work to be done here is to chop up the vegetables into a similar size, so that they are easy to spoon-up and eat and so that they cook at the same time. The cherry tomatoes were added whole... but I will get to that detail a little bit later too!


 And the age-old question of "how much pasta should I add?"- well, it may not surprise you that I am not going to name you a weight per portion! Let me just say- put the noodles into a bowl and imagine them being twice as much. Which means that the amount you can see here, allowing for the vegetables, chicken and broth, would be enough to fill 2 bowls. Again- not rocket science... use your bowl as your measure! Simple!


 To make your soup, bring the chicken to the boil on its own first. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes until any foam gathers at the surface of the water, then remove this from the edges with a spoon, leaving the broth nice and clear. Add the vegetables and herbs, season with salt and pepper and let it simmer away gently for at least an hour.

After an hour, remove the chicken from the broth and discard the skin. Remove the herbs from the broth too and then add the noodles and let them gently boil away whilst you take care of the chicken...


 Once the chicken has cooled a little, gently pull the cooked meat from the bones and break it into bite-sized pieces. then return to the soup to continue cooking along with the noodles and vegetables.


 Whilst the soup is nearing completion, pluck a few of those wonderfully aromatic, light yellow leaves from the heart of the celery and finely chop a few leaves of parsley to add as a fresh and intense garnish when you serve the soup up... which will be very, very soon now!


The last thing to do before serving the soup is to carefully pluck away the skins from the cherry tomatoes, as they will now come away easily, leaving the little juicy tomatoes whole and intact.

Sprinkle with the parsley and celery leaves and a little freshly ground pepper and enjoy nice and piping hot! And feel better soon!


Piping hot and delicious!

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