When it’s chilly outside, make a big batch of this warming soup for a comforting supper, or take it to work in a flask for an easy lunch. Dried mushrooms lend lots of flavour here. They are a great store-cupboard ingredient to have on hand for pepping up soups, pasta sauces, stews and casseroles.
To freeze: Allow to cool, then freeze in two-portion containers. Defrost fully in the fridge overnight, then reheat in a saucepan over a medium heat, until hot all the way through.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 4 celery sticks, diced
- 2 courgettes, diced
- 2 leeks, trimmed, well washed and diced
- 2 litres fresh chicken stock
- 1 litre water
- A bunch of thyme sprigs, tied with string
- 2 bay leaves
- 250g pearl barley
- 40g dried porcini mushrooms
- 1.5kg free-range whole chicken, spatchcocked or quartered, skin removed
- 200g cavolo nero, tough stalks removed, chopped roughly
- 250g frozen peas
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
- 30g Parmesan, freshly grated, to serve (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, courgettes and leeks and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until softened.
Pour in the chicken stock and water and add the thyme, bay leaves, pearl barley and dried porcini. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer.
Lay the chicken in the casserole, season generously with pepper and simmer gently for 1 hour, turning the chicken over halfway through cooking.
Lift the chicken out of the broth onto a plate and allow to cool a little. Remove and discard the thyme and bay leaves from the broth. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred into bite-sized pieces.
Bring the broth back to a simmer and stir in the cavolo nero and peas. Cook for 2 minutes, then return the chicken to the soup and stir well. Taste to check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
Ladle into warmed bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Best served with grated Parmesan.
Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start by Tom Kerridge, Bloomsbury, £26.