Hello friends! I’ve missed my blog but the reality of a colickly baby was fairly overwhelming. I am slowly but surely rejoining the world; this week I had my first full night’s sleep in 8 months so clearly I am ready to take on anything!
This here is proper food: simple, wholesome, comforting and incredibly satisfying. It warms you up on a cold day but is not too heavy for a warmer one. I think it is closer to more traditional Scottish fayre than what I usually cook which may be why I find it so comforting, although there are clearly some mediterranean touches!
It’s also great for the whole family; the baby happily munched on the chicken and soft vegetables despite having no opposing teeth.
Before I go on to the recipe, I should mention that this is the last meal in my favourite dinner trilogy which begins with a slow-cooker roast chicken, tomato salad and grilled corn on the cob. The next night we have shredded chicken breast in a delicious stirfy with brocolli, mushrooms, garlic and sesame oil served an embarassing quantity of hoi sin sauce. Any remaining chicken scraps and the precious stock (instructions here) are used in this soup. Three simple, easy and tasty meals which make me feel like I finally have this grown-up thing sussed. In fact, even as a standalone meal this soup makes me feel like I’ve got my life under control whilst it sits happily bubbling away on the stove. Just don’t go out and leave it on like I once did with a pan of pasta. Not good. Not good at all. Sleep deprivation is a dangerous thing.
Anyway, the recipe! This makes quite a lot – plenty for a family of 4 with some leftovers. Unlike most of my soups, you’re not going to blitz it at the end so bear that in mind when you’re cutting up the veg!
1 brown onion or leek, finely sliced
2 or more cloves of garlic (confession, i’ve been buying this stuff. I love it. Get it from the “asian” section of your supermarket for better value)
Around 300g mushrooms of your choice, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1/2 large head cauliflower, chopped, and chop up those leaves too – waste not, want not (plus they taste good!)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
200g “soup mix” (lentils, barley, split peas), although just red lentils would do if you don’t have this to hand
Chicken stock or jelly from a roast chicken, see above
1 large courgette, finely chopped
Cooked chicken, shredded (I’ll let you judge the quantity based on what you have available and the number of people you’re feeding. If there’s not much left increase the lentils and/or veg)
Large handful fresh basil
Fry the onion or leek in a little olive oil in a very large pan until soft and add the garlic and mushrooms. Continue until the mushrooms are soft too then add the carrot and cauliflower.
Cook for a few more minutes, stirring occassionally, then add the soup mix, tomatoes and stock and enough water to ensure everything is well covered. Leave this simmering for around 30 minutes until the dried pulses are cooked and the vegetables soft.
Next, add the courgette and cook for 5 minutes before adding the chicken and heating through.
Add torn fresh basil leaves immediately before serving, piping hot.