Tag Archives: lemon

Chicken, Kale And Lemon Soup

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Kale, chicken and lemon soup

Ingredients 

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

white pepper

Sea salt

2/3 cup risoni pasta

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

To serve

Chopped parsley

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.

Fried Cauliflower with Hazelnuts and Tahini

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Feed me Lebanese food several times a week and I’d be a happy woman. I tend towards the meat-free stuff and go wild for falafels, tabbouleh, baba gahnoush, hommus, and crispy fried cauliflower, yum… crispy fried cauliflower is so good.

I remember tasting fried cauliflower for the first time. My mother had taken me out to dinner, at one of the many Lebanese restaurants that line Cleveland st, on the fringe of Surry Hills. She notified me, even before we sat down, that we’d be ordering the fried cauliflower. I couldn’t believe I was yet to taste it. She’d talked it up. I questioned the idea in my head, would it be soggy? or oily? greasy perhaps? No, no,no. It was crisp, yet soft. It was lemony with a distinct sesame flavour (from the tahini). It was delicious.

If you were to follow tradition, fried cauliflower would be served as part of a meze (this being a selection of small dishes served together). But don’t let tradition stifle your creativity.  I like serving this crispy fried cauliflower with grilled white fish, usually flat head, and a simple green salad. I make extra tahini sauce so there’s plenty to drizzle over the fish too, and serve lemon to the side.

Don’t buy pre cut cauliflower, It must be whole, preferably with leaves and stalk still attached. I just can’t bring myself to buy vegetables that have been pre-cut (I know some of the nutrients have already leached out). This recipe is a cracker because it uses the whole cauliflower. There’s no waste. You won’t need to toss out the wilted left over that you find lurking in the fridge three weeks later.

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Fried Cauliflower with Hazelnuts and Tahini 

Ingredients

1 medium sized, whole cauliflower

4 tbsp roasted hazelnuts, roughly crushed

1-2 tbsp chopped parsley

500ml Grape seed or olive oil for frying

For the tahini sauce

2 tbsp tahini

1 large lemon, juiced

2 tbsp hot water

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

Place oil in a deep, wide pan (I use my wok) and heat to frying point. Meanwhile, cut cauliflower into small florets. Check the oil is hot enough by dropping a small floret into oil, if it bubbles wildly, the oil is ready.

Fry cauliflower is small batches – so as to not over crowd the pan and ensure the oil stays hot enough to fry – for about 2-3 minutes. Turn during cooking, till all sides are golden. Remove cauliflower from oil with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to drain. Repeat process till all cauliflower is fried. Lay out fresh paper towel and place all cooked cauliflower on top. This soak up any excess oil hanging around.

For the tahini sauce combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk till well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

To serve, scatter warm cauliflower on a large platter, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Drizzle cauliflower with tahini sauce, chopped parsley and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.