White Bean & Chicken Soup

When the nights are drawing in slightly, and you're after something that is cosy and warming, but not too heavy (or unhealthy), this is the perfect soupy stew ever. The chicken stock gives it a velvety kind of taste, and the white beans are substantial and robust whilst still being light and creamy. As is often the case, a good amount of fresh herbs really transforms this soup, but even without, this is a really tasty and healthy one pot dish.

For the Stock

  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • Chicken Carcass (cooked)
  • Water
  • Bay Leaf
  • Thyme, Oregano (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper

For the Soup

  • Large jar or 2 tins Butter Beans
    (or Cannellini Beans)
  • 1 Onion
  • Leftover Veg from making Stock (or 1 Carrot, 1 Onion)
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • Chicken Stock & leftover Chicken
  • White Wine
  • Red Chilli (and/or Red Pepper)
  • Bay Leaf
  • Fresh Herbs
  • Salt & Pepper

First – you need some good Stock…  Making Stock with a Chicken carcass leftover from a roast is a brilliantly easy idea.  Otherwise just use more veg…

First pull all the remaining meat off the Chicken bones… you might be surprised how much you can amass.  Chop it into very small pieces and reserve in a bowl…

Put the Chicken carcass in a large pan with a couple of pints of water, 1 Bay Leaf, 1 large Carrot, 1 Onion (halved with the skin removed), 8 Black Peppercorns, 2 tsp Maldon Salt and a couple of sprigs of fresh Thyme and / or Oregano if you have some (don’t worry if you don’t)

Put on to boil, and then turn down to a simmer for around an hour or so.  Drain carefully – reserving the liquid in a big jug – and the cooked Carrot and Onion in a bowl…

[NB The Stock will last for a good few days in the fridge, covered.  The fat will rise to the top and is easy to spoon off when it's cold.  If you don't, it will only add to the flavour; although is a bit less healthy...]

Now for the Soup itself…  Start by slicing 1 fresh Onion, chopping half a fresh Red Chilli and crushing a few cloves of Garlic (depending on how garlicky you like stuff…)

Also chop up the cooked Onion and Carrot from the Stock

Heat some Olive Oil in a pan and add the raw Onion and a Bay Leaf… Fry for 5 – 10 minutes or until they are starting to catch some colour.  Now add the crushed Garlic and the chopped Red Chilli – and cook for a few moments before adding the cooked Onions and Carrots

Cook for a few minutes before adding a big splash or two of White Wine.  Cook off the alcohol and then add some Black Pepper and a few fresh Thyme and Oregano leaves

Now add the homemade Stock and the chopped up cooked Chicken; bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes or so.  Add the drained Butter Beans and heat them through before adding lots of fresh herbs (you can use Thyme and Oregano, and/or lots of Dill, Chervil, Parsley etc).  Add some Salt to taste and a squeeze of Lemon just before serving…

Is DELICIOUS on its own, or with some Piedmont Peppers and some crusty homemade Bread…

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