Chicken and Spinach Soup

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This is a thin puréed soup that depends on chicken stock and some of the white and brown chicken meat for flavour. It’s sieved to give you a smooth creamy finish without adding any cream. Plus a way to adapt this recipe to make a vegetarian Spinach and Basil Soup.

Serves 4

Ingredients

200g washed baby spinach
700g chicken stock
100g white and brown chicken meat (with no bones)
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
8 leaves of basil or the leaves of 3 sprigs of thyme
Salt and freshly black pepper

Instructions
1. Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Leave to cool a little, blitz in a food blender, food processor or with a stick blender until smooth (you will still see flecks of green spinach). Pour into a sieve over a large bowl or jug in batches, using a spoon to stir the pulp to remove as much liquid as possible. Keep going until you have sieved all the soup. Leave the soup to cool and store in the fridge for up to 2 days or freeze for up to a month. Stir the soup well before reheating adding a little water to thin it to your taste.

To make this into a Vegetarian Spinach and Basil Soup use vegetable instead of chicken stock and omit the chicken meat.

HOW DO YOU MAKE THE CHICKEN STOCK FOR THIS RECIPE?
Place a whole free-range chicken into a large saucepan or stock pot with a litre of cold water, a good pinch of salt, a peeled and halved onion, a peeled and halved carrot if you have one and a bay leaf (optional). Bring to the boil, turn the heat to a light simmer and cook for 1 hour with a lid propped on top but tilted to let the steam out. Strain the liquid (that’s the stock) and use it in the soup above. Use the cooked chicken meat in the soup and the rest in sandwiches, pasta dishes, tortillas and salads.

TO TURN THIS RECIPE INTO A TRADITIONAL IRISH SPINACH AND POTATO SOUP
Omit the chicken meat and garlic. Use thyme leaves instead of basil. Add 2 medium peeled potatoes that you have cut into small chunks and add them with the rest of the ingredients in step 1. Cook until the potatoes are collapsing (about 10 minutes), then continue blitzing and follow the recipe as above.

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