Bill Granger's chicken, vegetable and risoni soup

Bulk cook-up: Chicken, vegetable and risoni soup.
Bulk cook-up: Chicken, vegetable and risoni soup. Photo: Natalie Boog

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.

Ingredients

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)

For soup

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)

To serve

Freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley

Grated parmesan

Crusty bread

Method

For stock

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.

For soup

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.