Special Chicken Soup

1 medium chicken, giblets removed

3 carrots

2 or 3 stalks of celery

1 turnip

1 slice of pumpkin

1 medium sized potato

1 tomato, deseeded and peeled

2 salted bones from the butcher’s ( 1 marrow bone, 1 ribs)

1 bouquet garni

1 chicken cube

salt and pepper to taste

This soup is served at my mum’s house every Christmas Day before the turkey. It is the one dish that every one looks forward to regardless of age, mood or fussiness.

1. Place the chicken in a very large pot.

2. Peel and chop up the vegetables into thick chunks then add to the pot.

3. Cover all the ingredients with hot water.

4. Rinse the two bones until all the salt has been thoroughly removed and put them in the pot.

5. Dissolve the chicken cube in boiling water and place them in too, together with the bouquet garni.

6. Bring to a good simmer, cover and allow to cook for an hour.

7. Remove from the heat and carefully take out the chicken. I always place it on a chopping board where I can carve it more easily.

8. Remove and discard the two bones and the bouquet garni.

9. I then blend the vegetables with some of the liquid in the pot to the desired consistency. Some people prefer thinner soups and use more liquid. I prefer slightly thicker soup, especially in winter. So I tend to have more liquid/ broth left over in the pot.

10. The remaining broth I pass through a sieve and pour into small foil containers. I allow them to cool completely, label them and freeze them. Any future recipes that call for chicken stock see me defrosting my own homemade and delicious creation.

11. The chicken can be served as part of the main course or saved for another meal.

12. Serve the chicken soup piping hot. I love it with crusty bread and butter. On special occasions I chop up, very finely, two hard-boiled eggs and approximately 150g of spanish ham (jamon serrano) and place them in two bowls on the table. Guests can help themselves to a sprinkling of these in their soup. Heavenly!