My mother never let anything go to waste. She always made use of everything, so if we had a roast chicken she would keep the carcass and use it to make the base of a beautiful clear soup, then add extras, such as vegetables, herbs and lentils. I have always enjoyed making broths at home, and here I’ve added a new twist with fragrant lemongrass and lime zest. To make a more substantial soup, you can add cooked rice or lentils to the broth and heat through thoroughly before ladling it over the chicken.
– PREPARATION TIME 30 minutes.
– COOKING TIME 2 hours.
– FOR THE BROTH BASE.
– 1 tablespoon olive oil.
– 1 small chicken, about 2¼ pounds total weight.
– 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped.
– 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised.
– 3 thyme sprigs.
– 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves picked and stems reserved.
– FOR THE CHICKEN AND LEMONGRASS BROTH.
– 2 large carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise.
– 3 lemongrass stalks, 2 bruised, 1 peeled.
– 2 thyme sprigs.
– finely grated zest of 1 lime.
– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Step 2:Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a large, deep saucepan, cover with about 2 quarts cold water and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface, which will help keep the soup clear. Add the quartered carrots, the bruised lemongrass, the thyme and the remaining cilantro stems. Return the liquid to a simmer, then turn the heat down to very low, cover the pan with a lid and simmer 1¼ to 1½ hours until the chicken is very tender and starts to fall apart.
Step 3:Carefully remove the chicken from the pan and leave to one side to cool slightly. Strain the vegetable broth into a clean pan, reserving the solids, and return the broth to a low heat. Simmer, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes until the broth reduces by one-third and is full of flavor.
Step 4:Meanwhile, carefully lift the quartered carrots out of the strainer, discarding the rest of the solids. Finely chop the carrots and put in deep soup bowls. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin, then pull the chicken meat off the bones and tear it into pieces. Add the chicken and a pinch salt and pepper to the soup bowls, then scatter the cilantro leaves over. Sprinkle the lime zest over and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil.
Step 5:Remove the tough outer leaves, top and root from the remaining lemongrass stem, then slice very thinly and add to the bowls. By now, the broth should be ready, so simply add a couple of ladlefuls to each bowl before serving.