It's that time of year again, ladies. The time of year when the rare strain of flu takes hold, so powerful and so deadly, it can only be compared to the Ebola virus. This virus is highly specialised and only attacks the "XY" gene found in men. A disease so potent it impacts their fragile immune system 100 percent harder than the average flu virus, causing excruciating pain for the poor lads. While women cannot contract the virus, we can alleviate the symptoms with sympathy and soup. This soup is the most powerful weapon in my armory at this difficult time. And the sympathy? Not so much…
Chicken noodle soup, good for what ails you.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 chicken jointed or 3 pounds chicken pieces of your choice
2 ltrs water
2 tbs soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large carrot, sliced diagonal
Handful of sweetcorn, tinned or cut from the cob
Spring onion sliced diagonally
3 ounces dried egg noodles or linguini
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley or some extra spring onions to garnish
Prepare broth: In a large heavy sauce pan, heat the vegetable oil on a medium heat. Add the onion and saute it for 3 to 4 minutes, until it starts to colour. Add the chicken pieces (if too crowded, you can do this in two batches), making sure the chicken parts touch the bottom of the pan directly. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Add water, soy and some freshly ground black pepper and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a plate to cool enough to handle. Strain the liquid through a sieve return the broth to the pot and bring back to a simmer. If you want a fat-free soup cool and refrigerate the broth at this point and take the solidified fat from the top before continuing.
To finish and serve: Add diced vegetables and simmer them until they’re tender, about 5 minutes. Add dried noodles and cook them according to package directions, usually 6 or 7 minutes. While these simmer, remove the skin and chop the flesh from a couple pieces of chicken. The remaining parts can be slipped into an airtight bag in the fridge and used for sandwiches, in salad or savory pie over the next few days.
Once noodles have cooked, add chicken pieces just until they have warmed through (30 seconds) and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with parsley or spring onion and deliver to your brave, brave soldier.