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Lemon & Chicken Soup

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Ahhh . . .  Winter.  That time of year when the heart and belly long for warming, comforting, sustenance food.  Foods like stews and soups . . . 

Soups like this fabulous Lemon & Chicken Soup, that are not only delicious but also simple and quick to put together. Its not like an authentic Greek Lemon & Chicken Soup, but it is every bit as delicious.

To be honest, I am not overly fond of tinned soups and only use them when I have no alternative.  Most often I like to make my soups from scratch. 
My mother always made delicious homemade soups when we were growing up.  This spoilt us a bit for tinned soup, with the exception of Tomato Soup. I have always enjoyed tinned tomato soup. Especially Heinz. We all have our guilty secrets eh?

This is a soup you won’t want to make too far ahead of time because of the pasta in it.  The pasta will swell up, having absorbed all the liquid if you do.  
So do plan on making it right before you go to eat it.

That’s not a problem really because it is so quick and easy to make. 
If you are really keen on making it ahead, you can get the stock ready, squeeze the lemon juice, peel and slice the carrots, cube the chicken and break up the spaghetti ahead of time, but that’s about all the ahead of time that I would recommend!

This is a fabulously tasty chicken soup, with fresh flavours!  It uses chicken stock along with lemon juice.  
You might think the lemon would be overpowering, but it really isn’t.  It adds a lovely layer of flavour that is quite pleasant! I was very surprised.

You will also need cooked chicken. You can use leftover chicken, chicken from a rotisserie bird, or you can poach chicken.  I always have poached chicken in the freezer ready to use.  
Poaching your own chicken and keeping it frozen is a great option to have at the ready for use in recipes like his one.

Its very easy to do as well.  Simply purchase a big package of either boneless, skinless chicken breasts or bone in if that is all you can find.
Pop them into a large saucepan and cover them with stock or water.  I like to season it a bit with salt and pepper, but that’s it.  Just bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for about ten  minutes, then turn off the heat.
Let them sit until they are cool enough for you to handle comfortably and then just shred the chicken, or strip it off the bones. Pack the meat into airtight freezer containers and then pop them into the freezer, ready to use in the future for delicious recipes such as this one. Easy peasy!

You will find that it comes in handy for all sorts.  Soups, casseroles, stir fries, etc.  It even makes a great chicken salad. 
There is no end to what you can do with it!  Truly.

One optional ingredient for this soup is a Parmesan cheese rind.  I always have them in my fridge. We eat a lot of Parmesan cheese, and I always grate my own.  
Grating your own is so much more delicious than buying already grated.  They add things to already grated to make it free flowing. 

When I was growing up we always had the one in the green can.  We didn’t know any better and were happy with that. 
 As an adult I have come to love and appreciate the real, unprocessed product, and I always save the rinds from them.  I keep them in a jar in the refrigerator.  They are great for using in flavouring soups and sauces!

You will need to break the spaghetti up into 2 inch pieces.  This very, very easy to do.  Just wrap it up in a tea towel and then, grabbing both ends of the wrapped towel, pull it sharply down over the edge of your counter.  
You might have to do it in sections.  I find this technique works best when your bundle of spaghetti is no larger around than a one pound coin (about 1 inch). Its just a little trick I learnt when I was going to Culinary college.
I was so surprised and wondered why I had never thought of it myself! Funny how that goes!  How you can discover something like that after many years of cooking!  Your spaghetti will break up into perfectly sized bits.  Easy peasy lemon squeasy!

Lemon & Chicken Soup

You don’t want really long strands of spaghetti in this  . . . its soup and you won’t be eating it with a fork! 
This soup is well flavoured, delicious and satisfying. Served in heated bowls with some crusty bread and a scattering of more cheese on top, it is a wonderful belly warmer.  Hearty and healthy without any fat, except for the cheese!

Lemon & Chicken Soup

Lemon & Chicken Soup

Yield: 4
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 15 Mincook time: 25 Mintotal time: 40 Min
This soup is so simple to make. Its quick, easy and is very delicious, low in fat and makes good use of leftover cooked chicken.
  • 6 cups (1.5 litre) of good chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) fresh lemon juice (the juice of 2 large lemons)
  • (Bring your lemons to room temperature and roll them
  • on the counter firmly before juicing to extract as much
  • juice as possible)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 1 broken bay leaf
  • 1 Parmesan cheese rind (optional, but nice)
  • 8 ounces (225g) spaghetti, broken into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 pound or so (450g) cooked chicken, diced
  • handful of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 1/4 cups (225g) grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/4 cups)
  • salt and black pepper
  1. Measure the stock and lemon juice into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil. Add the Parmesan rind (if using), bay leaf,and carrots. Simmer until the carrots are crispy tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add the broken pasta and cook for a further 6 to 7 minutesuntil al dente. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add the chicken and heat through.
  4. Remove and discard the cheese rind and bay leaf. Stir in half of the cheese and the parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning as required with salt and pepper.
  5. Ladle into heated bowls. Top each with some of theremaining cheese and serve immediately.
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