This was initially going to be a stew. It was horrible, foggy cold weather and I felt we needed a bowl of something hearty. I was looking through my cookery books trying to get some inspiration for what flavours to use, when I opened the Jewish Heritage Cookbook (a book I can heartily recommend by the way). I saw the recipe for chicken soup and knew that’s what I wanted. A nice big bowl of Jewish antibiotics (to give it it’s alternative name). Obviously putting ham into it didn’t make it kosher but that was the inspiration for this soup. It was a resounding success and we all felt instantly better for it.
Use thick slices of proper ham/gammon and not the rubbishy processed stuff. I bought a small joint and used some of that. If you are cooking a joint on the bone for this then do not, I repeat do not discard the water. Instead, use it for the soup. Serves 4 – 6
3 skinless chicken breasts
2 thick slices of ham/gammon
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled amd finely chopped
1 small courgette, finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped/grated
2 chicken stock pots
Salt and pepper to taste
In a little oil, fry off the onions, leek and celery until softened. Then add the courgette, potato and garlic. Fry for a couple more minutes.
Then add the stock pots, turn the heat up and continuously stir until the stock pots have melted and coated the vegetables. Add the water, cover and bring to the boil. Turn heat down low and simmer for 40 minutes. Turn heat off and allow to stand.
Twenty minutes before serving, dice the chicken and ham and add to the soup. Bring to the boil the turn heat down and simmer for 20 minutes, allowing the chicken to poach in the soup.
Serve with crusty bread.
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