During winter, I love nothing more than a steaming and heart warming bowl of soup.
I have heard people call soup boring. I’ve also heard people say that soup is not filling. This particularly recipe is neither of those things. Its is as fragrant as it is warming and fills the home with the aromas of Indian spices and fresh vegetables as it stews.
My colleagues at work have ooo-ed and ahhh-ed over the smell when I’ve cracked open my flask at lunch time and the addition of butter beans and roasted chicken breast means I’m left feeling warmly satisfied in the afternoon.
I frequently cook up a huge batch of soup on a Sunday to see me through the week at work. I freeze the soup and defrost it over night for the following day.
The soup also tastes great with cheese and toast for an evening meal.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 medium onions
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 carrots – roughly chopped
- 1 medium sweet potato – roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
- a bunch of fresh coriander
- 5 whole cardamom pods – crushed beneath the flat side of a knife
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 litre chicken stock (I prefer reduced sodium)
- 400g can of butter beans
- 400g can of chopped tomatoes
Peel & roughly quarter the onions before tossing into a large, heavy bottom stewing pan with the olive oil. Begin to heat on quite a high setting (I use the full power – 6 – on my electric hob) and allow to brown. Peel and crush the garlic cloves and add these to the pan.
When the onions are starting to caramelise, turn the heat down (to around 2 or 3) and add the roughly chopped carrots & sweet potato.
Once the vegetable have started to sweat, add the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, the fresh coriander and the crushed cardamom pods. Give the pan a thorough stirring then add the tin of chopped tomatoes.
Leave to heat through and enjoy the fragrant aromas that fill the kitchen – I promise that it will make your tummy growl.
Once the mixture has small bubbles riseng to the surface you can add the chicken stock, stir, cover and leave to simmer on a low heat (around 2 on my hob) for about an hour or until all the vegetables are soft and mushy.
Once the veg is mushy, I remove the pan from the heat and leave the mix to thoroughly cool.
However, if you are in a rush to eat it, you can blend when hot – just watch out for any bits of boiling liquid leaping up to burn you.
Whilst I wait for the broth to cool, I roast the chicken breasts, wrapped in foil with a few mixed herbs and black pepper, for 35 minutes in a preheated oven at 160 degrees (180 degrees if you’re not using a fan oven).
Once cooked through (the juices should run clear when inserting a knife into the widest part of the chicken breast), I shred the chicken and set aside.
I use a hand held blender to blitz by soup, it saves on washing up and really doesn’t take long at all. I suppose a stand alone blender or a food processor will do the job too but I hate washing up and will do almost anything to avoid doing it.
It is fully blended once all lumps have gone and the soup has the look of rippled cloth. If you want a more liquid consistency, you can add additional water at this stage but I like my soup thick so it really coats and warms my inners.
At this point I add a drained tin of butter beans although you can use whatever tin of beans happens to be in your cupboard – I have used haricot and chickpeas in this recipe.
Also add in the shredded chicken and give it a good stir.
I use left over Chinese take out tubs to divide the mixture into 5 helpings, keep two in fridge for Monday & Tuesday and freeze the rest. It is perfect for reheating and takes about 4 minutes on high in the microwave.
Be sure to only reheat each tub once though as you shouldn’t reheat chicken or beans more than this.
When serving, sprinkle a little more fresh coriander on the top – it also tastes great with a hearty dollop of sour cream of creme fraiche.
And viola, soup for the week!