Like I’ve said before, for me, warm food is redolent with spice. This chicken soup which was made pretty quickly using a cheat – rotisserie bought chicken (Coles Elsternwick do a fabulous kosher one on Thursday, Friday and Sunday which often finds its way into my weekend cooking). In this instance I removed the meat from the bones and added it to a vegetable sofrito that was laden with cumin, paprika, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, turmeric, ginger and tomato. A little squeeze of lemon and lots of fresh greens (coriander or parsley) add an extra dimension and complexity. A can of chickpeas or a handful of quinoa or brown rice would also make this a completely rounded and utterly satisfying meal.
Fragrant Middle Eastern Chicken & Vegetable Soup
1 large fennel, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 sticks celery, diced
1 tbspn tomato paste
1 tbspn each cumin, ground coriander, paprika and cinnamon
1 tspn each ground turmeric and cayenne
1 tbspn fresh grated ginger (optional – adds heat)
1 tin crushed tomatoes and 1 tspn brown sugar (to balance acidity)
1 litre chicken stock
1 rotisserie chicken, meat only, shredded
half a bunch tuscan kale, leaves only, shredded
lemon wedges and chopped coriander and/or parsley to serve
In a heavy based saucepan, sauté the fennel, carrot and celery in 2 tablespoons of oil until slightly softened. Add the tomato paste, ginger and spices and stir for about 3 minutes or until the vegetables are all coated and you can smell all the spices.
Add the tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the chicken and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the kale leaves and stir until they wilt. Check for seasoning and add salt or pepper if needed.
Serve with lemon and fresh herbs.