In the last few days I have spent a considerable time complaining about three things: being ill, having a sprained shoulder and that our precious Mk1 Golf GTI has broken down again. It seems 30-year old things break down occasionally, myself included.
On Sunday I made the simplest roast chicken: half a lemon in the cavity, a little olive oil and a lot of sea salt on the skin to make it really crispy, roast for two hours. That’s it. I always buy a large chicken, even just for the two of us, as I love to have leftovers. Even once we have made a huge dent on the breast meat and thigh meat, and have devoured a wing each (the best bit), there is usually still enough for another large meal and a couple of sandwiches. I have made a number of chicken pies with the leftover meat, especially in the colder months; in the summer it ends up in salads, like my chicken and bread salad with harissa and pomegranate seeds. This time, it was destined for a soup – just the thing for a warming weeknight supper.
This soup is, as the best chicken soups are, based on a broth of chicken stock. Home made, of course, is best, but if you don’t have it, stock cubes are fine. This time, my broth was a mixture of both. I usually decant chicken stock into old plastic soup containers, which hold about 600ml of liquid. I only had one left, and the soup requires about 1200ml of stock, so I made up the rest with a cube.
Also in this soup is a healthy mixture of kale, onions, celery, green lentils and pearl barley. It can be made in under an hour and is best served with crusty bread. The crustier, the better.
Roast Chicken, Kale and Lentil Soup
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Large pinch chilli flakes
1 bay leaf
1.2l chicken stock
100g pearl barley
100g green lentils
Leftover roast chicken
75ml natural yoghurt
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Two large handfuls kale, shredded
2 tbsp lemon juice
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the onion, celery and garlic until translucent – about five minutes. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon, chilli and bay leaf and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Add the chicken stock, pearl barley and lentils, bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes until the barley and lentils are tender.
Add the roast chicken and the yoghurt and heat through without boiling. Season with salt and black pepper.
Toss the kale in a little lemon juice then divide between two large bowls. Ladle the soup over the kale, the heat will wilt it.
Serves two with extra for leftovers. Adapted from a recipe by Gourmet Traveller.