As a child lying in bed ill, I could smell the aroma of this soup on the stove as it wafted from the bowels of the house, up to my bedroom. I hear Mum's voice calling upstairs, 'Nicky, try to sit up, I am bringing you up some soup.' Always chicken soup - sometimes with noodles , traditionally in Ireland served with barley - to restore the appetite when we were ill.
A steaming bowl of golden broth flaked with fresh parsley brought back my appetite gently, coaxing me to eat it. A rich yet soft flavour comforting me with each mouthful the scent in the steam alleviating tightness in my chest and my stuffy head.
When I feel even slightly under the weather, I crave, crave, crave this soup. It is an elixir, something instantly soothing and comforting, not to mention full of goodness. Chicken Soup is a magical cure for any kind of illness or despair. Its rich yet calming flavour is claimed by cultures and folklore worldwide as the cure for all ills.
In Ireland chicken broth is normally made by simmering an old chicken carcuss, or chicken pieces, with barley, soup celery, carrots, onion, celery, leeks, parsley and soup mix (dried pearl barely, split red lentils, green and yellow split peas) and in water over a low flame for up to three hours, or slightly longer. The broth is then served with the cooked vegetables and barley.
As I began to experiment in the kitchen, I realised there were many ways this basic broth could be adapted. Straining the veggies/barley etc resulted in a rich chicken stock, which is the basis for endless meals, and can be frozen in ice cube trays. After a lot of playing around, adding bulbs or garlic, and slices of orange to the stockl mix. I came up with my Chicken Noodle Soup, which incorporates crunchy vegetables, noodles, and spice and brought together in a warming golden soup.
Note, if you are feeling poorly - then you probably won't want to make the basic stock. Shops sell brilliant ready made chicken stock, which I subsitute on a regular basis, when I have run out of frozen stock, or haven't the energy to make any. Or basically I want the soup and I want it instantly.
One of the great things about this soup is that it can be altered to suit your tastes, adding or taking away vegetables, and seasonings as you wish.
Chicken Noodle Soup
yields two generous bowls
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 2 - 4 cloves of garlic finely sliced
- 1/2 inch knob of ginger grated
- 2 red chillis - one finely sliced, one kept whole with slices cut into the side
- 7 florets of brocoli
- 15 sugarsnap peas sliced lengthways
- 3 carrots peeled into ribbons
- 4 scallions finely sliced
- small bunch coriander finely chopped for serving
- 1 cup of beansprouts
- 1/2 courgette finely sliced
- 7 baby corn sliced lengthways
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- chilli flakes / Japanese seasoning (I use House Ichimi Togarashi)
- Boiling water
- crumbled pieces of cooked chicken
- 2 heads of pak choi roughly chopped
1-2 rounds of noodles per person
Optional - finely sliced - peppers, red/white onions, mushrooms, chinese cabbage, red/white cabbage, corn, finely sliced lemongrass or peas.
- Prepare all your ingredients and set out on a board or in little bowls, because once you start cooking, you have no time to stop and start chopping
- Heat the stock in a pan, add the noodles leaving on a low heat, while the other ingredients are cooked
- Heat the olive oil in a pan until smoking, and fry the garlic and scallions for about one minute
- Add the ginger
- Add all the other ingredients fry for approximately 3 minutes
- Add the stock and noodles, cook for up to a further two minutes, mixing the noodles into the vegetables, check the taste and add boiling water if the stock is too strong
- Season with salt/pepper/chilli/Japanese seasoning and serve with a sprinkling of coriander
I like to add the coriander to the bowls before pouring the soup in, as when the hot liquid hits it, it immediately starts to release the aroma of the herb throughout the soup.
Are you a chicken noodle soup fan - how do you like yours?
That's it for now ...
Salt and Sparkle = Life Remarkable