BUILDING BLOCKS- Chicken soup

Felix. He’s little, noisy and fiery, a true pepperoncino rosso (red chilli).

pepperoncino rosso

He’s firmly addicted to me, latches onto my leg or wraps his arms around my neck in both a passionate and violent fashion, all the while emitting cockatoo/monkey sounds and before I can think I find myself uttering gorilla tones back at him with love.

When we’re not imitating him, Coco and I are spending our time prompting him to speak but the sounds of the jungle mixed with cuddle attacks, rolling on the ground in disapproval or laughing at what he enjoys is his preferred communication.

He’s our lightning bolt who goes off regularly with joy, sadness, madness and just Felixeness. If he’s up he’s fully charged and incredibly vitalizing to watch but also exhausting to manage. Although he may of felt the heat of the oven, stared down the flames of the stove and shut his little fingers in each drawer of the kitchen, nothing stops him from coming back for more.

So when he’s asleep or with his dad in the garden I can relax and take my time with a new chocolate cake recipe I’ve discovered or devise a rub for the roast I am planning. But when he’s in close proximity I must act fast to produce yummy dinners with little time in the kitchen.

On this cold wintery day I have decided on chicken soup. Like Felix this dish is warming yielding and primary . This particular recipe inspired by the Silver Spoon, will provide soup for this evening, tender chicken for lunch tomorrow and stock to freeze for future use.

Ricetta: serves about 4-6

One whole free-range/organic chicken skinned

Vegetables left over in the fridge or whatever in season

One onion

One carrot

One celery stalk

Salt

Red Persian lentils (optional)

Rosemary (if you have some)

Place the whole chicken in a stock pot along with the onion, celery stalk and carrot then coverwith cold water. Sprinkle some salt in the water and let it come to the boil then simmer gently for about 2 /2.5 hours uncovered.

Italian tender chicken soup

Besides skimming fat from the top of the pot a couple of times there is nothing to do!

So I played outside with Felix in the garden and away from the kitchen.

Let the pepperoncino rosso cool off

Once the time is up the chicken can be taken out of the pot and set aside to cool. The stock needs to be strained and put in the fridge to cool.

Once I got Felix into bed for his nap I cut up all the vegetables I had left over in the fridge: cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, half an onion and a small fennel bulb.

I then softened the onion in olive oil & added about ¾ of a cup of dry Persian red lentils (these are very small and need no soaking so all you have to do is wash and use). I then put in some chopped rosemary from the garden and the vegetables. If you have a Parmigiano crust, this can also be tossed into the soup to give depth to the whole dish. Then it’s time to skim the fat from the top of the chilled stock and add enough to cover the vegetables on the stove (put the rest in the freezer). Let it bubble away for about 30- 40 minutes then add the shredded chicken to the pot and let it sit.

Beautiful Tuscan chicken soup, a great winter warmer

By the time Felix woke from his nap I had dinner ready, stock in the freezer and lunch for the next day.

Time for dress ups!

time to dress up!

And dinner

Cooking Next day sandwiches

Next day sandwich:

Mayonnaise mixed with a little wasabi

Cranberry jelly

A leaf of cabbage

Coriander

Avocado

Cooked chicken

Next day chicken sandwiches. I love cooking with leftovers!