We need to talk about Christmas. Specifically, on obtaining a refund on white Christmas. There was much excitement around Christmas while I drove P crazy singing Christmas songs and waiting for snow. Then Christmas came and I still sang Christmas songs while drinking Eggnog and waited for snow. It was the sunniest day ever. EVER. Of course, the day after was wet and miserable as we got pushed and shoved with maniac shoppers on Boxing Day sales but somehow we made it through to the other side, welcoming 2015 with sweater weather.
In spite of all the sun that has been shining on semi-grey London, P and I have both managed to catch the flu. Last week, her mum sent me a flu fighter recipe and I added some tweaks of my own (Read: Since discovering sriracha, its all sriracha everything, even while fighting deathly colds). It’s quick – which is the only reason I can really see myself making it often. Patience in the kitchen is not my virtue. Essentially, it’s just seasoned chicken on bone with water, boiled with some garlic and bay leaves till tender. You can then use that as a backbone for any soup or sauce. It’s also the cheats way to get rid of forgotten vegetables and herbs. I added some dill because I had that on hand but any greens would do well. I prefer sauteing the vegetables or any additions on the side so as to not color the soup. A beaten, seasoned egg white would also work perfectly, stirred into the soup on the last few minutes of a simmer as would thick noodles or pasta but really, it is up to you. It is an extremely handy recipe to have on hand for lazy weekends, especially those featuring movie marathons and little to no snow.
Lean, Green, Mean Chicken Soup
Serves: 4 – 6 (with some leftover stock)
Source: The Vanilla Bean Original (with some help from P’s mom!)
6 chicken pieces, on the bone, washed and patted dry
4 – 5 cups of water, more if needed
2 bay leaves
3 – 4 fat cloves of garlic, grated
1/4 cup spinach leaves, washed and patted dry
4 large mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly
A handful of coriander, with stems, washed
Sriracha sauce (optional), to taste
1/4 tsp chili flakes, optional
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbs + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
1. In the largest pot you have, add 1 tbs oil on medium heat and add the chicken pieces, seasoning well. Toss around to make sure it’s coated with the seasoning and oil and top it up with water up to the brim. Add grated garlic and bay leaves. Cover and reduce heat to low, stirring every few minutes till the chicken is thoroughly cooked – about 40 – 60 minutes on low heat.
2. In a saucepan, add 1 tsp olive oil on high heat. Add chili flakes and let them sputter a little, reducing the heat almost immediately after adding them. Add spinach and mushrooms and toss well till spinach has wilted and mushrooms are cooked. Take off the heat and set aside.
3. Once the chicken has cooked, take the pot off the heat and remove chicken pieces, shredding the meat off the bone. Put the pot back on the flame and add chicken pieces, sauteed vegetables and seasoning, if needed. Garnish with a dash of sriracha and coriander sprigs. Serve hot.