Tuesday, December 13, 2011
It seems like only last week that the bean stalks only had a few lonely pods hanging from them, but now they sag heavily laden with plump broad-beans ready for picking. The herbs also have had a massive growth spurt in this strange hot but humid weather, especially the parsley. The potatoes I planted, what feels like an age ago, should finally this coming weekend be ready to harvest (fingers crossed).
It was all feeling quite green, lively and summery, the type of day you either chuck a huge piece of red meat on the barbecue sit out side with a cold beer (cocktail or wine) and get heat stroke, or, as I did, go the other direction and have a warm (not hot) aromatic, take advantage of all the great produce, soup.
I had some home-made chicken stock in the freezer and a couple of chicken thighs in the fridge. I defrosted the stock on the stove and then gently poached the chicken in the simmering stock, making sure to skim of any scum that formed.
While the chicken was cooking, I set about preparing the vegetables, a red onion; bunch of asparagus; carrots; confit garlic (again, a staple for the fridge); spring onion; celery; olives; parsley; broad beans; and peas.
The carrots, asparagus stalks (not tips), onions, celery, and garlic were set aside in one bowl to cook first, as they take a bit longer to become tender.
And the remainder in another bowl, ready add at the last minute.
I gently sautéed the first lot of vegetables on a low heat, to soften slightly. As they cooked, I took the chicken out the stock and shredded the meat off the bone, then strained the stock. I added the stock to the pan, a small handful of fusilli pasta, and let it simmer gently for about 8 minutes.
After about 8 minutes the pasta should almost be cooked. I then added the rest of the vegetables, herbs, shredded chicken, and a squeeze of lemon. Tasted and adjusted seasoning (and added a small shake of chilli flakes).
When the pasta is cooked (about 3 minutes more) take it off the heat and let it sit to cool down a little, this soup shouldn't be eaten piping hot.