Pot roast chicken soup

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_1274-1024x1024.jpg

This is a healthy, wholesome and easy chicken recipe. It is somewhere between a soup and a casserole – and if you want to make it even more substantial (or simply make it go further), you can serve it with rice. You can also thicken it with a little cornflour and serve it with potatoes and vegetables. It tastes wonderful because the chicken is cooked whole with the vegetables and herbs, much in the same way that you would make a chicken stock so none of the flavour is lost. There is something wonderfully comforting about this recipe. I tend to make a big vat of it (using an extra large chicken and adding a few extra vegetables) so I can put some in the freezer. I normally include leeks as well but I didn’t have any this time…and just nipping out to the shops is not an option at the moment!

  • olive oil
  • a large chicken (ideally free range and corn-fed)
  • 6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, chopped
  • 4 sticks of celery, sliced
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • a few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
  • a head of broccoli, chopped
  1. Pour 2 tbsp oil into a large, deep-sided pan just large enough to fit the chicken in (I use a casserole). Over a medium to high heat, brown the chicken well on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Boil the kettle.
  3. Add a little more oil to the pan if needed and cook the bacon until brown.
  4. Turn the heat down, add the celery, onions and carrots and cook gently for a few minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for another minute.
  5. Move the vegetables towards the sides of the pan and place the chicken on top. Pour hot water over the top until the chicken is half submerged. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours, adding the chopped broccoli for the last 15 minutes. By this stage the chicken will be falling away from the bone.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pan. Debone and de-skin the chicken, carefully picking all the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the pan. Discard the bones – in effect, you’ve already used them to make stock so they will have no further use.
  7. Bring the soup back up to temperature, season to taste and then serve.
  8. Alternatively, it can be divided up, cooled and frozen.

If you want to thicken it, mix 2 tbsp cornflour with 2 tbsp water in a small bowl. Bring the soup up to simmering temperature. Gradually stir in the cornflour mixture and allow it to thicken – you may not need it all.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_1252-1024x768.jpg
Basic ingredients to which others can easily be added (see above for ideas)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fullsizeoutput_7f80-1024x768.jpeg
Chop the vegetables, crush the garlic and pick the thyme leaves
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_1261-1024x768.jpg
Brown the chicken all over and set aside
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_1260-1024x768.jpg
Brown the bacon then add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fullsizeoutput_7f7f-1024x768.jpeg
Return the chicken to the pan and add hot water around half submerging the chicken
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fullsizeoutput_7f8a-1024x768.jpeg
After 1 1/2 hours the chicken will be falling off the bone
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fullsizeoutput_7f86-1024x768.jpeg
The bones and skin can be discarded. Return the chicken meat to the pan.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fullsizeoutput_7f88-1024x768.jpeg
Bring back up to temperature and serve.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fullsizeoutput_7f8b-1024x768.jpeg
There is very little waste. Bare bones go in the bin. My dog has the bowl of scraps!
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fullsizeoutput_7f8c-1024x768.jpeg
Ideal for freezing
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_1275-1024x768.jpg
Rice or potatoes can be added to make it go further