Friday, January 15, 2010

Chicken, Lemon and Basil Soup

Sometimes what I need is a pure and simple soup to revive the soul, and that is when I turn to an Asian style of soup. I have mentioned before that I see two different ways to make soup. One, the western way involves cooking your ingredients together slowly until deep complex flavours develop. The other, what I would call the asian way involves quickly heating stock with added flavourings and adding a few fresh ingredients at the end. Cooking quickly and lightly produces a light healthy soup preserving much more of the vitamins in the fresh ingredients, and if you are organised is very quick and easy to make. This soup is my take on an asian style soup but using western flavourings - chicken lemon and fresh basil.

- Turn the grill (or broiler) on full to heat up (and turn on the extractor fan as well - you’ll need it!)
- Put a little olive oil in a saucepan over a low heat and pop in a crushed and sliced clove of garlic to cook slowly.
- Peel an onion and slice it end to end to make pointy slices.
- Take a piece of aluminium foil and fold up the edges to make a shallow tray. You could use a tray but this way there is less washing up.
- Put a chicken breast and the onion in the foil, pour over a little olive oil, salt and ground pepper and the juice of half a lemon and mix together.
- Pop it under the hot grill to cook.
- Pour about 3/4 of a pint of chicken stock in with the garlic, throw in the squeezed lemon half and bring slowly to the boil. The stock features large in this type of soup so a homemade stock is best but, hey, use whatever you have.
- Keep checking the chicken and onions - you want them cooked and just blackening at the edges but the chicken will take longer so remove the onions into a bowl as soon as they are done
- Once all is cooked roughly slice the chicken breast and pour the juices from the little tray into the stock.
-To serve place the chicken in a couple of soup bowls along with onions, pour over the stock and finally top with a handfull of basil leaves. Basil does not need cooking so goes in right at the end. Mine needed a little salt but that depends on the stock so taste it first.

A very pretty soup I think but not one for entertaining as there is too much to do at the preparation stage. No this is one to keep for a solitary but luxurious lunch or supper just for one (or two, if you really like them) . . .

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