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Some things are reflexive. Feeling yucky but hungry? Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, chicken soup fits the bill. Science has shown that chicken soup clears sinuses, but do we really need the PhDs to tell us what grandmothers have known since time immemorial? "Drink this and you'll feel better," was what my nana used to say, and boy was she right. I've honoured her recipe here in all ways but one: instead of using old-fashioned egg noodles, I've taken a handheld spiraliser and run a zucchini through it. When you put these zucchini noodles in at the end of the simmering time, they have an al dente texture. It really completes the soup, and will help you feel right as rain. 

Nana’s chicken soup

Serves 6
2 tablespoons extra-virgin
olive oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds 
4 stalks celery, sliced into 1 cm chunks 
sea salt
1.5 litres chicken stock 
350g cooked and thinly sliced organic chicken
1 zucchini, peeled and spiralised or cut into thin noodles (see Cook’s note, below)
1 teaspoon lemon zest 
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or dill, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion, carrots, celery and ¼ teaspoon salt and sauté until golden, about8 minutes. Pour in 125 ml of the stock to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the remaining stock, bring to a boil over medium heat, then decrease the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chicken, zucchini noodles, lemon zest and lemon juice and cook for 2 minutes more. Serve garnished with the parsley, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Cook’s note: Only put in the amount of zucchini noodles you will eat at the time. Letting them sit in the soup and reheating will turn them into mush, just like regular noodles. Refrigerate leftover, uncooked zucchini noodles in a separate airtight container. Add them to the soup when you reheat the leftovers. 

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Image and recipe reproduced with kind permission from Clean Soups by Rebecca Katz (Murdoch Books RRP $35.00)

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