Cream of Chicken Soup

A dear friend wrote recently saying she was craving chicken soup, a thick, creamy version would be preferable. Should she fill it out with floury potatoes and should she add watercress, she wondered. She is also cooking for the freezer and wants to make it with cheap cuts of chicken specially bought to make sturdy soup to freeze. She went on to say she can’t see herself roasting a whole chicken and using the leftovers (which is another route for chicken soup). Here’s my super simple recipe; essentially chicken, onion, leeks and potato with a hint of rosemary. I used chicken stock and milk and I’m about to have a bowlful; it really is delicious and highly recommended. If freezing the soup in batches, I would suggest adding the milk when you are heating the soup to serve. This avoids the possibility of splitting, which sometimes happens. If it does, just give it a brisk whisk with a fork. The flavour won’t be spoilt. 

Serves 4

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 35 min

1 onion

knob of butter

1 tbsp olive oil

200g trimmed leek

1 potato

2 large chicken thigh fillets

1 bay leaf

1 tsp rosemary leaves

750ml light chicken stock

200ml milk

     Halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Melt the butter in 1 tbsp olive oil in a lidded medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat and stir in the onion with a generous pinch salt. Stir-fry for 5 minutes, reduce the heat, cover the pan and leave to cook while you prepare leeks, potato and chicken, giving the occasional stir to avoid sticking and encourage even cooking. Quarter the leek lengthways and slice across into small scraps. Wash in a sink of water and drain in a colander. Peel, chunk and rinse the potato. Slice the chicken into small bite-size pieces. Stir the bay, rosemary and leek into the wilting onion. Cover the pan again and leave to cook for 5 minutes. Stir then top the juicy leeks and onion with the chicken. Cover again and cook for 5 minutes. Stir, cook for a further 5 minutes and add potato and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, partially cover the pan and cook at a gentle simmer for 10 minutes. Check the potato is tender and the chicken cooked through. If not, cook for a few more minutes. Fish out the bay leaf and discard. Add the milk, return to simmer and liquidize in batches to make a smooth, pale soup with the consistency of pouring cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Delicious now, it will have a richer flavour tomorrow.