For the past week I’ve been hiding under my blanket with a lurgi which refuses to leave. In times like this I turn to soup. The market for fresh soup is huge, but if they’re not on offer you can find yourself paying through the nose when, well, when you can’t even breathe through your nose.
Soup was one of the first things I learnt to cook, me and my dad used to make pots of vegetable soup. This recipe is based on James Martin’s recipe for French onion soup, but is golden in colour and much lighter.
Poaching chicken makes it soft, succulent and just fantastic. I only tried this for the first time recently, and it made me realise how dry I’d been cooking my chicken. It also adds more flavour to the stock and is healthier because you’re not adding extra fat to the chicken. However, the chicken is optional and it's still a delicious soup if you don't add it - without the chicken the cost is 16p per portion. You could also add other veg like broccoli and carrots - the world or veg counter is your oyster (or cauliflower).
This recipe will feed 3 with big bowls. If white onions are too expensive (the price tends to fluctuate dramatically) then use 2 red and 1 white.
You Will Need:
1 chicken breast
2 white onions
1 red onion
1 litre chicken stock
A splash of milk (about 50ml)
A couple of handfuls of frozen peas
¼ tsp chilli powder (optional)
1. Trim your chicken breast, getting rid of the tendons or ‘gross bits’. Use a large pan to bring your stock to the boil, then turn the heat down to a low-medium and add your chicken breast. Place a lid on and leave for 25minutes, or until it’s cooked all the way through. When it’s cooked, put to one side and drain your stock into a jug.
|Yes, this is a different colour onion.|
I was making something else at the time!
2. Thinly slice your onions into half-moons, caramelise in a mix of oil and butter over a medium heat. This will take about 15minutes, stir them regularly so they don’t burn until they have reduced in size and taken a brown colour. When they first start to sizzle, you can add a pinch of sugar to add a sweeter flavour.
3. Add the milk and the flour. Stir in the flour until it cooks out – this will help thicken the soup but won’t make it taste of flour. If you wanted to you could also add wine at this stage.
4. Add your stock and leave to simmer for about 15minutes. Shred your chicken using two forks or your fingers, after 10minutes add the chicken and the frozen peas to the soup.