As I mentioned in my last Cookbook Challenge catch-up, my new Jamie Oliver book - Jamie does Spain, Italy, Sweden, Morocco, Greece & France - has certainly inspired me to get back in the kitchen (thanks Vera!).
This recipe is from the French section of the book and is my first soup of the season. I quite like Jamie's suggestion of using half the chicken for the soup and half for scrumptious chicken sandwiches - you can do this to the sandwich half.
I picked this soup to qualify for the 'leafy' theme as it has half a savoy cabbage in the ingredients.
I think the savoy got a bit of a bad wrap when I was a kid due to being put in coleslaw with awfully bland dressing. Remember the international sign for the kid with a fancy mum? Savoy and red cabbage in the 'slaw - ooh la la!
In the soup however, the cabbage is lovely, it bulks out the broth without being too heavy like potato or parsnip.
The following ingredients make heaps of soup. Don't forget to soak your beans overnight in preparation for cooking.
250gm haricot beans (must be soaked overnight)
4 rashers of bacon, finely sliced
3 onions, peeled and finely sliced
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 whole chicken, approx 1.2kg
sea salt and pepper to season
1 fresh bay leaf
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 small bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 savoy cabbage, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and finely sliced
crusty bread to serve
Soak your beans overnight in cold water, covered with a lid.
In a large deep pot, add some olive oil over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the bacon has some colour.
Add the sliced onions and garlic and cook slowly for 20 minutes, stirring often until they are slightly golden and sticky. (You may need to reduce the heat during this time to avoid them sticking.)
Place the whole chicken on top of the onions. Drain the beans and add them to the pot too. Tie the fresh herbs and bay leaf together with some string and add them to the pot. Pour in enough cold water to just cover all the ingredients and give it a generous season with the salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil and skim and discard the foam that will rise to the top. Reduce the soup to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour. Continue to remove any foam that rises to the top over the cooking time.
After the first hour, check to see if the chook is cooked. If the drumstick pulls away easily you are good to go. Remove the chicken from the pot - be very careful of hot liquid running down your tongs and onto your skin.
Add the cabbage and carrots, increase the heat to a rolling boil and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the carrot is soft.
Meanwhile, remove and shred the chicken meat. Taste the soup, adjust the seasoning and add as much or as little of the chicken as you like.
Serve hot with crusty bread.