Friday, 9 January 2015


Zuppa di Pollo, Porro, Verdure & Fiocchi d'Avena
Chicken, Leek, Vegetable & Oatmeal Soup


Everybody knows that the cure to every given ill is chicken soup- and there are a million and one variations of it to suit each and every illness and each and every taste...

Well there are a million and TWO now- this is the soup I made to help get me feeling better this evening and I am sure it will do the trick for you too!


Creamy tasting but containing no cream and rich and flavorful, whilst being low on fat- this was a great pick-me-up soup for a case of fever and upset tummy, which with a couple of clever additions, turned a classic chicken and leek soup into something just a tad better maybe... just don't ask a Scotsman what he might think!


I elaborated a little on a classic, Scottish, "Cockaleekie". or chicken and leek soup- and here you can see the ingredients.

To make 2 good bowls of soup, I used 1 chicken thigh, 1 carrot, 1 slice of root celery, about 6" of leek, 1 shallot, 3 slices of ginger, 1 star anise, a little parsley and 2-3 tablespoons of oatmeal. Not shown in the photo was a good pinch of dried rosemary... only because I didn't have any fresh and only thought to add it later!


In an original "Cockaleekie" soup, barley is often added to give it more body and thickness. But by adding oatmeal and then blending half of the vegetables in the soup together with it, I was able to create a thick and creamy base to add the rest of the vegetables and the chicken pieces to before serving- which was pretty terrific!


I removed the skin from the chicken too, in order to have a lot less fat in the broth. This would have been great if I had just been suffering from a cold, as it would have given me energy to combat it with, but I thought it would be better for my poorly tummy if I did without today. I also added the ginger and star anise for that reason... oh! And for the fact that they made the broth taste super-terrific too!


I began by cutting the vegetables into a small but chunky dice- the kind of size that is easy to eat with a spoon of course, even though 2/3rds of it will be whizzed together in a blender at the end!


All of the fresh ingredients, save the parsley leaves, went into a saucepan, were well-covered with water and were brought to the boil and then simmered at a low, rolling boil for around 20 minutes, seasoned with a good pinch of salt and pepper.


After 20 minutes, I removed the little bit of scum that had floated to the surface.


I then added the oatmeal and returned it to a simmering boil for a further 30 minutes or so.


By that time, the meat was falling from the bone and so I cut it away and broke it into small, bite-sized pieces. I also removed plenty of carrot, leek and celery root to add later.


After the soup had boiled away for a full hour, I whizzed it through my blender and returned it to the stove top- smooth, frothy and ready to have the chicken and vegetables added before serving!


And with just a last bit of pepper and a scattering of finely chopped parsley leaves- my wonderfully rich and creamy soup was ready!


And for a "regular" chicken soup... I would say that THIS, my friends- is just about as good as it gets!


 And you can bet that I started feeling a whole lot better really soon after enjoying it! Oh- and I will guarantee that you will too!

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