“A good chicken soup is the ultimate pick-me-up and easily makes the transition between winter and summer. Feel free to vary the vegetables from season to season, and to replace the beans with a grain such as rice, barley or freekah…”

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 1 × 1.25kg free-range chicken
  • 1 litre Chicken Stock (home-made is best)
  • 500ml water
  • 150g dried cannellini beans, well-washed and drained
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 70ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch Tuscan black cabbage (cavolo nero), washed and roughly shredded
  • 1 handful green beans, trimmed, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chargrilled sourdough bread to serve

Method:

Place the chicken in a large saucepan or stockpot and cover with the stock and water, then add the cannellini beans and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Add the bay leaf and thyme, then cook over low heat for 50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the beans are tender.

Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and beans from the stock and set aside. Strain the stock and reserve. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and shred the meat from the bones into bite-sized pieces.

Set aside. Meanwhile, rinse the pan and return it to the stove. Heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds or until golden. Add the carrot, onion and celery and cook for a further 2–3 minutes.

Return the stock, beans and chicken to the pan and bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the black cabbage and beans and cook for a further 3 minutes, then add the peas and cook for another 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve with chargrilled sourdough to the side.