Warm up yourself with this herb and veggie-packed chicken soup. It's a perfect meal for cooler days.
1 free-range chicken, rinsed
3 bay leaves
large handful thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 onions, skin on
50 grams butter
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 celery stalks, sliced, plus any leaves
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 x 400 gram tins cooked chickpeas, drained
150 grams snow peas, finely sliced
Put the chicken in a large stockpot and add the bay leaves, half the thyme, peppercorns, celery leaves and one of the onions, skin on and quartered. Fill the pot with cold water so it just covers the chicken then bring to the boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for a further 40-45 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked. Test it by pulling the leg and thigh away – there should be no sign of pinkness in the joint. Remove the chicken carefully from the hot stock and set aside. Strain the stock, discarding the herbs and vegetables and reserve for the soup.
Heat the butter in the same stockpot. Peel and finely chop the remaining onion and add to the sizzling butter along with the carrots and celery. Season generously and cook for a couple of minutes.
Stir in the flour and stir to cook the roux slightly. Add a small amount of the stock, stir and then gradually add 1½ to 2 litres of the reserved stock.
Rinse the chickpeas well, add to the stock and bring to a simmer.
Remove the chicken flesh from the carcass and shred. Take care as it may still be quite hot.
Just before serving add the shredded chicken, snow peas and extra thyme to the pot and bring bring back to the boil. Garnish with a few extra sprigs of thyme.
Roux: a mixture of flour and butter cooked gently together and used to thicken soups and sauces.