Friday 4 May 2012

Spicy Chicken, Tomato and Sweetcorn Soup

When I read the theme of this week's Woolies Pantry recipes, I gave a happy little snort. I have teenagers, you see, and feeding them (and the other ravenous students who swarm through my kitchen) is not unlike cooking for an army. If I were a millionaire, I'd give them their favourite food - slabs of steak and triple cheeseburgers - but I'm not, so I have resorted over the years to more economical ways of feeding young people with hollow legs. This is the fifth  in a series of recipes for Woolworths South Africa, pantry sponsors of MasterChef South Africa.

A big pot of richly flavoured soup, served with a mountain of bread, makes excellent teen fodder, and this recipe is one I make often in winter. It's packed with filling carbs - potatoes and sweetcorn - and really is a square meal in itself. What's more, it stretches one chicken across eight or more mouths, whereas if you had to roast a chicken, it would feed only four (and that's being optimistic).

If you're in a hurry, you can make this with shop-bought liquid stock and a ready-roasted chicken, but a proper home-made chicken broth adds wonderful depth of flavour. This is a mildly spiced soup, so feel free to give it extra heat with chopped fresh chillies, dried chilli flakes or lashings of Tabasco.

My other recipes for Woolworths #wooliespantry:

Spicy Chicken, Tomato and Sweetcorn Soup

For the stock:
1 large free-range chicken
3 litres cold water
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, skin on, quartered
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, thickly sliced
6 stalks flat-leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
1 tsp (5 ml) black peppercorns
2 whole cloves

For the soup:
3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
4 big carrots, peeled and cubed
6 big potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-cm cubes
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 red chilli, seeded and finely minced (optional)
2 tins Italian tomatoes, finely chopped, and their juice
3 Tbsp (45 ml) tomato paste
500 g frozen sweetcorn kernels
1 Tbsp (15 ml) cumin
1 Tbsp (15 ml) dried oregano
1 tsp (5 ml) ground coriander
1 tsp  (5 ml) sweet paprika
1 tsp  (5 ml) chilli powder, to taste
salt and milled black pepper

To serve:
chopped fresh parsley
chopped spring onions
sour cream or natural yoghurt

Place all the ingredients for the stock in a large pot and bring to gently to the boil. Turn down the heat, cover with a tilted lid, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the stock, strip the flesh from the bones and set aside, covered. Return the bones and skin to the stock and simmer, partly covered, for another 45 minutes. Strain the stock into a bowl and discard the bones and flavourings. Pull the reserved chicken into strips. At this point, if you are planning ahead, you can put both the stock and the chicken into the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion, celery, carrots, potato cubes, garlic and chilli and fry over a medium heat for five minutes. Skim any fat from the top of the stock and pour the stock over the vegetables. Bring to the boil. Add all the remaining soup ingredients, except the reserved chicken, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potato cubes are tender. Skim off any foam, tip in the chicken strips and cook gently for a further 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken has fallen apart into shreds. Check the seasoning, stir in the chopped parsley and serve at once, topped with spring onions and sour cream.

Cook's notes:
  • For an even more substantial soup, add a cup of split orange lentils, and cook the soup for 10-15 minutes longer, before adding the chicken.
  • If you’d like a thicker texture, give the soup a quick whiz with a stick blender before you add the chicken.
  • You can use tinned sweetcorn in place of frozen sweetcorn.

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Terence said...

Very interesting post.

last minute pomorie said...

I`ve tried this recipe and i`m really impressed, it has a very good taste. My both child tried it and they like it a lot. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Zoe said...

Making this for an impromptu dinner tonight... yippeee! Looks delish!! Chicken stock smelling DIVINE!! :)

Anonymous said...

This looks divine!

Zoe said...

It WAS delicious! A perfect winter soup - for men as well - I love soup in any form, but my husband struggles sometimes, so I have to meat it up!!

* I added fresh sweetcorn, which I just boiled for the last 20 or so minutes in the soup.