Chicken soup

Serves 6

I often make this soup at home in both summer and winter. It's a favourite with my children and feels like a meal all on its own. It needs nothing else as an accompaniment – except perhaps a second helping!

To poach the chicken and create the stock
1 whole chicken
2 fresh bay leaves
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of thyme
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp whole black peppercorns

For the soup

1 tsp olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 thumb of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 red chilli
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small bunch of coriander, well rinsed, stalks and leaves chopped
1 small bunch of mint, leaves only, finely chopped
The juice of one lemon
150ml/5fl oz light soy sauce
100g/31/2oz rice noodles, broken into one-inch pieces

Rinse the chicken under cool water, removing any fat from the cavity as you do so. Then place into a saucepan large enough to comfortably hold all the ingredients. Scatter over the peppercorns, and other ingredients and add enough water to cover the bird entirely. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat until the water is just simmering. It is important that this stock does not boil, as it can become bitter. Simmer for an hour then remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Strain the liquid from the pot in which you have poached the chicken, discarding the vegetables and herbs but retaining the liquid as stock. Remove the skin from the chicken, and shred the flesh using your fingers. Set aside.

Rinse out the pot in which you have cooked the chicken and return to the stove. Place over a medium heat. Once the pot is warm, add a teaspoon of oil and the carrots and onion. Turn the heat to low and sweat the vegetables for 20 minutes or until they are just tender. Now add the ginger, chilli, garlic, herbs and lemon juice. Cook for a further five minutes then add the stock, chicken, soy and noodles. Turn the heat to low and cook for a further 10 minutes or so to allow the flavours to meld. Serve in warm soup bowls.

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