This poached chicken and orzo soup is like a hug in a bowl. And let’s face it, those are the only hugs we will be giving for a while more.
Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta, but you could use any pasta, or barley. I make this regularly with lots of different vegetables and eat with some wheaten bread.
For stock I recommend Carol’s Stock Market from Derry. She makes the best-quality homemade stock, all with natural products, that you can buy.
I like celeriac and think of it as a much underrated vegetable. I like it with the bacon in this recipe for the added taste. For the best apple juice look for the Apple Farm in Co Tipperary.
The Traas family have been growing apples in Holland since the 1800s. Some generations later, the family moved to Tipperary where they have been growing fruit since the 1960s. There is no added sugar and it is an excellent product.
Each of these soups freeze well, but remember that the cream will separate when you defrost. Just bring to the boil and hand blend.
Poached chicken and orzo soup
Serves four to six
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 bay leaves
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, plus extra to garnish
1.7 litres (3 pints) water
2 chicken stock cubes
4 boneless, skinless chicken fillets
175g (6oz) orzo
2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black
sourdough baguette and butter
Celeriac and potato soup with smoked bacon
Serves four to six
2 litres (3½ pints) chicken stock
(from a cube is fine)
5 garlic cloves (3 peeled and 2 thinly sliced)
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
500g (1lb 2oz) potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 celeriac, peeled and chopped
100g (4oz) smoked bacon lardons
300ml (½ pint) cream
100ml (3½fl oz) unsweetened apple juice
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
buttered brown soda bread (optional)