About this recipe:Anyone can make a wonderful bowl of chicken soup. The trick is to start with a fresh broth, using good-quality chicken. Add a few vegetables and noodles to the broth, and you'll see why this is known for its restorative properties.
For the broth
1 chicken, about 1.35kg skinned and jointed, or
4 chicken quarters, skinned
2 onions, halved, the inner layer of skin left on
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 bouquet garni
4 black peppercorns
For the soup
100g spaghetti or linguine, broken into 5cm pieces
First make the broth. Put the chicken joints in a large, heavy stockpot or saucepan. Add the onion halves, carrot and celery, then pour in the water to cover the ingredients. Bring to the boil, skimming the surface constantly until all the grey scum has been removed.
Reduce the heat to low immediately after the liquid boils. Add the bouquet garni and peppercorns. Partially cover the pan and simmer for 1 hour, skimming as necessary. Test the chicken joints after 30–40 minutes; remove them as soon as they are cooked (the juices will run clear when the joints are pierced with the tip of a knife). Set aside.
Line a large colander or sieve with dampened muslin and place it over a large heatproof bowl. Strain the broth through this. Discard the vegetables and flavouring ingredients. Return 1.5 litres of broth to the cleaned pan. Skim off any excess fat on the surface. (Cool and freeze the leftover broth to use as a chicken stock in other recipes.)
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard all the bones. Cut 250g meat into bite-sized pieces for use in the soup. Reserve the remaining chicken for sandwiches or other recipes.
Bring the broth to the boil, then reduce the heat so the broth is simmering. Add the spaghetti or linguine and the carrot, and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the celery, broccoli and corn, and continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the pasta and all the vegetables are just tender.
Stir in the chicken pieces with pepper to taste and heat through. Sprinkle in the parsley and thyme, then serve at once.