I make and freeze soups all the time.
During these colder months of the year, when I’m cooking a different pot of soup each week, I portion the left overs into small individual serves and have them on hand in the freezer for when I need good food fast.
At the moment I have a decent but small crop of kale growing in my urban garden, (it loves this cold weather) and this chicken and kale soup is a perfect way of using it up.
I steered clear of potato as a thickener in this soup, instead, short grain risoni pasta is used to add body to the stock and a smoothness to the soup that I find irresistible.
A free range chicken will give the best results here. The stock will be flavoured from its bones and the chicken is then shredded and added back to the pureed soup.
Of course, as with all kale, there is a slight bitterness here that is then accentuated from the lemon, but this too is part of the charm of this particular soup. And with the help of the sour cream and brown sugar the queen of greens flavour is smoothed out, and a silky soup is left in its place.
Kale, chicken and lemon soup
1 bunch kale
2 medium brown onions, diced
2 large sticks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 fresh bay leaves
1 tbsp chopped thyme
1.5kg free range whole chicken
1 whole lemon – wax free if you can
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
2/3 cup risoni pasta
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
Extra virgin olive oil
Wash the kale and trim away the inner woody stalk. Shred into thin pieces.
Place the onions, celery, garlic, bay leaves, fresh thyme, chicken and the lemon in a large pot, add the chicken stock and add 2 litres of cold water, gently bring to the boil.
Skim off any impurities that bubble to the top, turn the heat down and simmer gently for 45 minutes.
Remove the chicken and the lemon, and set aside to cool slightly.
Place the soup back on the heat, bring back to the boil, add the shredded kale and risoni pasta, and cook on a rapid heat for 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
Cut the lemon in half and squeeze and strain the juices into the soup. Add the brown sugar and sour cream and puree the soup till smooth. Check the seasoning.
Meanwhile, discard the skin from the chicken and shred the flesh into thin pieces.
Once the soup is blended and seasoned to your liking, add the shredded chicken back to it, warm it through and ladle into bowls. Garnish the soup with chopped parsley and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.