You don't have to have a Jewish mother to enjoy brilliant chicken soup. Most cultures the world over have a version of chicken soup. It's easy to make, nutritious and delicious.
Making chicken soup is a 2-stage process. The first stage is to make a really good chicken stock, and the second is to make the soup itself. If you already have some stock made up, you can skip the first stage.
To make the chicken stock
Coarsely chop the onion, carrot, celery and leek. Add them to large saucepan along with the chicken carcass, the herbs and pepper, and enough water to cover everything. Bring it to the boil, and skim off any scum that rises to the surface (otherwise your stock will be cloudy). If using a pressure cooker, cook under pressure for half an hour. If you don't have a pressure cooker, put a lid on the pan and simmer for 2 hours, checking the water level occasionally and adding more water if necessary. When cooked, drain off the liquid and discard everything else - although you might want to pick any bits of meat off the carcass to add to the soup. You might also want to cool the stock in the fridge or freezer until the fat floats to the top and can be removed. I would normally do this with stock, but for chicken soup, those globules of fat floating in it are part of what makes it what it is.
To make the chicken soup
Dice and slice the remaining carrot, celery and leek, and add them to the stock along with the barley. Add the chicken wings, thighs and drumsticks. I prefer to keep these whole, on the bone - but you can strip the meat off and shred it if you wish. Bring to the boil and simmer for half an hour, until the chicken, barley and vegetables are all cooked. Serve with some nice crunchy bread.
STOCK • 1 chicken carcass • 1 medium onion • half a stick celery • half a large carrot • half a large leek • 2 bay leaves • 1 tsp ground white pepper • 1 tbsp chopped parsley • SOUP • 2 each chicken wings, thighs and drumstickss • half a stick celery • half a large carrot • half a large leek • 100 grams barley
PLUS Enough water to cover the chicken carcass and vegetables.
Makes 1 litre (about 2 pints) Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 1 hour. Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes.