Nights are getting colder and darker, and you are mostly found on the sofa with a blanket watching the 6th episode of the newest release on Netflix cursing at the streaming giant for asking you if you are ''still watching'' after 3 hours of not touching the remote. So we've arrived at winter, but what's different this year is that you're not feeling guilty about spending 20 hours on the sofa, because you aren't allowed to leave the house. One of the benefits is people have had a lot more time cooking, and actually enjoying doing it. When it's cold and you're feeling slightly miserable mostly because you've eaten two boxes of chocolate fingers, a big dinner is not the one. I usually turn to soup for a lighter meal, and this particular chicken noodle soup that's packed with veg and nutritious stuff with no sight of bulgur wheat, flax seeds and kale. This is a easy recipe for chicken noodle soup, and best served with some hot crusty bread to dip if that's your thing.
1 rotisserie chicken - it can be fresh or cold, and if you can't get a whole chicken, roast chicken pieces is also fine
5 rashers of streaky bacon
4 medium sized carrots
Half a sweetheart cabbage
3 chicken stock cubes
7 cups hot water
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon butter
Half tablespoon olive oil
80 grams spaghetti
Salt and pepper
Slice the bacon into small strips (against the grain). Heat the olive oil into a stockpot over medium heat. When the oil is simmering, add the bacon. While the bacon is cooking, slice the leeks in to semi circle like strips. Add the leeks to the bacon and add the butter. Stir together and turn the heat down to low and allow the leeks to sweat.
While the leeks and bacon are cooking, prepare the chicken by de-boning and and roughly shredding the chicken. In the meantime boil the water. Add the chicken (you can add the skin as well as it will add more flavour to the soup) to the stock pot. Add the 3 stock cubes to the pot, and pour in 7 cups of hot water. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, thyme and sprinkle salt and pepper. Mix together, turn up the heat to medium-high and cover with a lid and bring to the boil.
In the meantime, peel and chop the carrots into smallish half inch cubes. Add this to the stock pot and cover with a lid, turn the heat down to low. If at any time, the soup is reducing too much and the flavour is too strong, you can always add water. Conversely, if it is too watery, you can uncover the pot and let the water evaporate which will in turn thicken the soup.
While the soup is simmering, prepare the sweetheart cabbage by chopping the leaves into 2 inch size pieces. Add the cabbage to the soup.
Measure out the spaghetti and using your hands, break the pasta into 4 (so you get approx 4 x 2 inch pieces from one piece of spaghetti) and put directly into the soup. Cover with a lid for 5 mins to let the pasta cook.
Test the pasta to see if cooked, and try the soup to check the flavour. Here you can adjust with a sprinkle of salt and pepper or add more water. Once the taste is to your satisfaction, remove off the heat and serve into some soup bowls!