Chicken soup with dumplings

Serves 4

2 chicken legs, skinned, plus a few chicken bones

2 leeks, one roughly chopped and washed, the other cut into rough 1cm squares and washed

1 small onion, peeled, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, halved

A few sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

10 peppercorns

1.5ltrs chicken stock or a couple of stock cubes dissolved in that amount of water

1tbsp finely chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Separate the chicken drumstick and thighs; remove all of the meat from just the drumstick (reserve the bone for the stock). In a food processor or by hand, chop the chicken meat as finely as possible, season and stir in the parsley. Mould into small dumplings using a couple of teaspoons that have been dipped in cold water. Refrigerate until required.

Meanwhile, put the chicken thighs, drumstick bone and extra bones into a large saucepan with the roughly chopped leek, onions, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns. Pour over the stock and some water if the chicken isn't covered. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour, skimming every so often. Remove the chicken thighs; put to one side and leave to cool. Continue simmering the soup for another 30 minutes, then strain the stock through a fine-meshed sieve and re-season if necessary. Remove the meat from the thighs and cut into chunks or shred it.

Check the strength of the chicken stock and re-simmer for a little longer if it needs strengthening. Add the squares of leek, the dumplings and chicken thigh pieces, season and simmer until the leek is tender.

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