What is my secret to a great life? It might be buying a pair of Manolo’s every month. It could be pleasuring yourself four times a day (I wish I had the time). It might be daily yoga practise. I’m sure all these things will bring most of us a fulfilled and happy life, but it’s none of them.
It’s chicken soup. Once a week. Without fail. Not quite as thrilling as shoes, sex or finally discovering your sahasrara* but hey, it works. It has been on the menusince prehistoric times and recent research has suggested that chicken soup has a naturally occurring peptide that has a positive influence on health. Recently, my lovely friend C. who is an excellent cook, told me to add a particular stock powder – and, as chicken soup is also known as Jewish Penicillin and she is Jewish, I took her advice and have never regretted it. There are, of course, a trillion ways to make it, but this is my particular version (which, I humbly add, is looked forward to by Husband and Son even though it is ladled out to them week in, week out).
INGREDIENTS (in whatever quantities suit you best)
Bone-in chicken (thighs are good/cheap)
Telma Chicken Soup Mix (available from Waitrose/Ocado)
Chilli flakes, salt, pepper – all to your taste
Thyme, parsley (chopped) – whatever you have handy/prefer
Heat up olive oil in large saucepan. Chuck in chicken pieces for 5 mins. Add veg and cook for another 3 mins. Add chilli flakes, salt, pepper, Telma and handful of herbs and enough water to cover all ingredients. Bring to boil. Then simmer for at least one hour on very low heat – I put on the lid and stick it in bottom of Aga for up to three hours. Ideally, let it cool once cooked and take out chicken with slotted spoon, remove bones and return chicken to pan. When ready to serve, add noodles if liked, reheat (thoroughly) and serve sprinkled with masses of freshly chopped parsley. Will keep, once cooled, in fridge for a few days. Sometimes I add cannellini beans. Sometimes eat it with boiled rice. Sometimes add pasta. Sometimes add puy lentils. Oh yum.
* The thousand-petaled spiritual energy center at the crown of the head, where one experiences the highest states of consciousness.