Friday, 6 May 2016

Life is Soupy...

It's true...and when life is soupy, what do I do? Why! Make soup, of course! Or I do that anyway because I go home for the weekend and a meal is produced that I know would put me in hospital...or at least in a lot of discomfort (silly fibre!!). I also felt creative, I'd had chicken thighs for lunch and the only thing available in the fridge for me to be creative with, were chicken I had to change it up. Do something different. So I did. Here ya go:

Life is Soupy
2 Chicken Thighs
Olive Oil
Salt + Pepper
1 Large Onion (white or...whatever other colour you want...brown, purple, pink with polkadots...)
1 Large Garlic Clove (2 Medium Cloves, 3 Small Cloves....etc. etc.)
1 Large Carrot (see above 'Garlic Clove' for variations on quantity)
1 Celery Stick
A Large Handful of Shitake Mushrooms
A Slightly Smaller Handful of Chestnut Mushrooms...
2 Chicken Stock Cubes

1. So, first you've got to flavour that chicken...or marinade as some like to say. Just tip a generous quantity of olive oil, salt and pepper and some herbs (I used Oregano and Thyme) into a bowl and give it a stir. Chop/cut the thighs up into whatever size you like your meat...and bung them in the bowl. Give them all a mix around using a spoon, your hand, a fork, your brother's fork...cover with a tea towel or similar and leave while you prep everything else. 
2. Preparing the vegetables is next. Peel and chop the onion into small cubes, the garlic into thin slices, and the carrot, celery and mushrooms into smallish chunks but based off your own preference of vegetable chunkiness...
3. Once all the veg is chopped and looks all pretty and healthy and colourful, place a deep pan on the heat with the temperature quite low. Pour in a splash of olive oil and wait a little for it to heat up (do not test it with your finger...silly muppet). 
4. Start with the Chicken. You can add a bit of the marinade to the pan too (if you like) before tipping all the pieces in. Leave them until they properly start sizzling then start rotating them with a spoon...spatula...whatever floats your boat...or kitchen. Keep moving them and allowing all pieces and all sides of each piece to reach the heat and colour. To check if they're cooked, take one of the larger pieces and cut it in half checking the middle to see if it is still pink. If it is, keep the chicken going for a little while longer. Once they're ready, remove them from the pan and leave on a plate at the side while you deal with the vegetable bit. 
5. First, the onion. Tip all the pieces into the pan and give them a stir so that they're covered in oil and none of them are burning. After a minute or two, add the garlic. Once these have both softened, add the other vegetables in this order: carrot, celery, mushrooms (not a specific type first...just mushrooms). Give the carrots and celery a good 5-10 minutes though before adding the mushrooms as these take longer to soften and no-one wants a an unexpected crunch in their soup now do they!
5. You can use a wooden spoon to test your veggy mix and see how they're getting on. Test the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Oooh, vegetabley soupy thing!
6. With the veg ready to go, you can throw the chicken back in and pop the kettle I've said in other recipes, this is not for a cuppa, we are professionals, dammit! Find a jug and place two chicken stock cubes in it. Add boiling water and give them a stir encouraging the cubes to break down and produce a delicious chickeny...herby...soupy.....liquid?
7. With the stock done and the solid ingredients all cooked through, add the liquid to the pan until it's at a soupy enough level for your liking. You can then give it another stir, a taste (you can even add noodles, tiny pasta pieces or some Parmesan cheese to the mix) and....


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