Dream dinners: Classic chicken soup

Soothing and filling on a cold day, this is comfort food at its very best – and a great way to get vitamin B6.

chicken noodle soup
Joff Lee


PREP 15 minutes
COOK 2 hours 30 minutes

1.5kg oven-ready chicken
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 leeks, cleaned, trimmed and shredded
4 celery sticks, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1.8 litres water
225g vermicelli noodles
1 large bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Place the chicken in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion, carrots, leeks, celery, garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Pour in the water and add some salt and a good grinding of black pepper.
  2. Set the pan over a high heat and bring to the boil, skimming off any dark-coloured scum that rises to the surface.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pan with a lid. Cook very gently for about 2 hours until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is thoroughly cooked and starting to fall off the bones. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside until it’s cool enough to handle.
  4. Discard the skin and remove the meat from the carcass. Cut the meat into pieces and return it to the soup together with the vermicelli and most of the parsley.
  5. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the vermicelli is cooked and tender. Fish out the bay leaves and check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if required. If using, stir in the lemon juice.
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining parsley.

TIP Instead of using vermicelli noodles, add some diced potato to the broth along with the shredded cooked chicken and simmer until tender.

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