All-in-one, freezer-friendly meals that contain lots of vegies and sufficient protein and carbohydrates - what could be better than that for a busy home cook? This dish is a classic restorative chicken soup for the nights that you all might feel like something simple. It could be completed with a simple green salad and a dessert of sliced cold green apples, with a few slices of extra parmesan.
For chicken stock
1 chicken, rinsed and patted dry
2 onions, quartered
2 carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
10 black peppercorns
Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
Few thyme sprigs
3 litres (12 cups) cold water
(Makes 6-8 cups stock)
1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock (see above)
1 leek, trimmed, quartered, thinly sliced
6 sticks celery, trimmed, diced
2 small turnips, peeled, diced
110g (1/2 cup) risoni pasta
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 cups shredded poached chicken (see below)
Freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Put all ingredients in a large stock pot and slowly bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently for 1-2 hours, skimming any scum or excess fat from the surface. Strain the stock through a fine sieve, reserving chicken. Allow chicken to cool slightly, then shred meat, discarding the skin and bones.
Note: Allow stock to cool completely before freezing. Leftover chicken can be used to make sandwiches.
Place stock in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Add leek, celery and turnips, return to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes. (If you want to reserve some of this soup base for later, you can freeze a portion at this point.)
Add risoni, simmer for a further 5 minutes. Add peas and shredded chicken, simmer for 3-4 minutes more, or until peas are bright green and tender and risoni is al dente. Garnish with parsley and parmesan and serve with crusty bread.