What is my secret to a better life? In my youth I briefly thought it was being reckless with my debit card in Harvey Nix. Nowadays of course, that would translate to Marks & Spencer. My secret could be pleasuring yourself four times a day (it’s free – a distinct bonus – but not sure many of us have the time/energy/privacy). Or it might be daily yoga practise (ooohhhhhhmmm, great for your body and chilling your mind). Actually any of these things might well make you happier – and no doubt you have a few brilliant ideas yourself – but my secret is…
…chicken soup. Once a week. Without fail. Not quite as thrilling as stratospheric heels, sex or finally discovering your sahasrara* but hey, it works. It has been on the menu since prehistoric times and research has suggested that chicken soup has a naturally occurring peptide that has a positive influence on health. Years ago my friend Claudia, who is an excellent cook, told me to add a particular stock powder – and, as chicken soup is also known as Jewish Penicillin and she is Jewish, I took her advice and have never regretted it.
There are, of course, a trillion ways to make it, but this is my particular version (which, I humbly add, is looked forward to even though it is ladled out week in, week out).
Ingredients (in whatever quantities suit you best)
Bone-in chicken (thighs are good/cheap)
Telma Chicken Soup Mix (available from Waitrose/Ocado)
Chilli flakes, salt, pepper – all to your taste
Thyme, parsley (chopped) – whatever you have handy/prefer
How to prepare
Heat up olive oil in large saucepan. Chuck in chicken pieces for 5 mins. Add veg and cook for another 3 mins. Add chilli flakes, salt, pepper, Telma and handful of herbs and enough water to cover all ingredients. Bring to boil. Then simmer for at least one hour on very low heat – I put on the lid and stick it in bottom of Aga for up to three hours. Ideally, let it cool once cooked and take out chicken with slotted spoon, remove bones and return chicken to pan. When ready to serve, add noodles if liked, reheat (thoroughly) and serve sprinkled with masses of freshly chopped parsley. Sometimes I add cannellini beans. Sometimes eat it with boiled rice. Sometimes add pasta. Sometimes add puy lentils. Oh yum. Will keep, once cooled, in fridge for a few days. Also freezes well in an airtight Tupperware-type container.